Five Lesser Known Consequences of Identity Theft in the United States

Almost every American knows about the basic consequences of identity theft. Often, the consequences are relatively easy to fix on a small scale. For example, large banks and credit card companies have become extraordinarily adept at tracking fraud. Although their methods are not foolproof, they can save credit card users, enterprises, and taxpayers a substantial amount of money. However, there are consequences of identity theft that can be much more serious than small fraudulent charges.

You need to be aware of how severe consequences of identity theft can really be. It is always better to be prepared than caught off-guard. Additionally, identity theft is not limited to credit card information.

1. Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance

Information on your passport and driver’s license can be sold on the black market as fraudulent immigration documentation or as part of SSDI or SSI scams. This practice is a more substantial issue than for immigration authorities. In the event you ever need to apply for SSDI or SSI, you do not want to have to prove your identity. Typically, applying for SSDI is difficult. Identity theft can make successfully applying for needed income as well as needed subsidized insurance (Medicare, Medicaid) almost impossible. The application process is almost always lengthy. Identity theft can make it take upward of several years.

2. Job Applications and Background Checks

You can be an ideal job candidate with a clean driving record and a clean criminal record. However, identity theft can ruin your chances at gainful employment. If a criminal uses your identity and commits crimes, the rap sheet can easily show up on routine background checks conducted by employers. The worst part is that you might not have any idea that a criminal record is associated with your name. It is not unusual to not be hired after an interview, and employers rarely surrender background check records after a job candidate is not hired.

3. Eligibility to Get Loans

Stolen identity can impact your FICO score. Even if you have never paid a bill late in your life, you could be flagged by lenders as “high risk.” Buying a car or renting an apartment can quickly turn from a routine process to an almost impossible endeavor. You might have to pay more for loans and suffer the consequences of bankruptcy, even if you have never defaulted on a payment. More often than not, your applications will simply be denied.

4. Ability to Find a Place to Live

Numerous rental communities have stipulations on leases for prospective residents. It is not uncommon for felons or sex offenders to be automatically denied the ability to reside in a certain area. Also, roommates often run background checks on strangers. One odd report can be enough to prompt others to throw out your application.

5. Difficulty Pursuing Graduate Education

Higher education has become more competitive recently. Graduate-level programs often conduct background checks and credit checks to determine the character of applicants. In a common scenario, admissions officers will not have enough time to sort through hundreds of applications. A poor credit report or anything found on a background check can be good enough reason to throw your application in the trash, and you will never know what happened.