What is identity theft?

Answer: Identity theft occurs when someone steals your identity to commit fraud.

Stealing your identity could mean using personal information without your permission, such as:

  • Your name
  • Social Security number
  • Credit card number

Identity thieves may rent apartments, get credit cards, or start other accounts in your name. You may not find out about the theft until you review your credit report or a credit card statement and notice accounts you didn’t open, charges you didn’t make, or until you’re contacted by a debt collector.

Tip:

Learn how you can spot identity theft and visit the Federal Trade Commission's Fighting Back Against Identity Theft website for more information about identity theft.

Ask CFPB provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The CFPB updates this information periodically.

Ask CFPB includes links or references to third-party resources or content. The CFPB does not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.

Read full answer Hide full answer