White collar crimes typically involve stealing information, running a scam or conducting underhanded deals for financial gain. Many people mistakenly think that these crimes do not have victims. Identity theft is a type of white collar crime that certainly does have victims.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, identity theft is when one person steals and uses another person’s identity. It is often to allow that person to use the victim’s credit to make purchases or for other financial reasons.

Examples of crimes

Identity theft is a crime on its own, but it leads to additional criminal activity. A person who steals someone else’s identity may pass him or herself off as that person in public, which affects the real person’s reputation. He or she may apply for loans or credit cards, gain access to the victim’s financial accounts and conduct business under that person’s name. It is also possible for someone to use a victim’s identity to run scams on other people.

How to spot it

According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft can occur when someone gets access to another person’s Social Security number. When this happens, the victim may not know right away. Signs may start to show up later as the victim receives letters about financial transactions he or she did not make or gets calls to collect debts he or she did not know exist. By the time a victim discovers an issue, the person who stole his or her identity has often moved onto a new victim, making it difficult to track him or her down.