Semantics of Identity Theft: Credit Card Fraud vs. Identity Theft

The semantics used in this industry often confuse credit card fraud with identity theft, but the phrases are not interchangeable. The fact is that they are vastly different crimes; these differences need to be clarified so consumers are not misled by companies claiming to be on their side.

Credit card fraud can be mistaken for identity theft but usually the effects of credit card fraud are nothing near to being what they can be in a full-blown identity theft incident. Credit card fraud occurs when a criminal gains access to someone’s credit card information. The criminal can gain access to this information by stealing your wallet, skimming your card at an ATM or point of sale device at a gas station, buying mass amounts of data on the dark web from data breaches, or creating phishing emails, calls, or texts that lure the victim in to divulging the credit card number (along with the card’s expiration date, and CVV code).

After the criminal gains access to this credit card information, they can then begin their spending spree. Usually it will start with small purchases as they test whether they can get away with it, then the charges will get larger and larger. Once you finally take a look at your credit card statement or online list of charge transactions, that’s when you realize that you’ve become a victim of credit card fraud. Thankfully, there are laws that limit the liability of the consumer when it comes to unauthorized purchases on credit cards. Most credit card issuers offer their customers zero-liability fraud protection to protect their customers from instances like this. In most cases, the time that it takes to recover from this type of fraud is negligible… all you have to do is call your credit card company. In fact, credit card fraud is easy for the victim to address.

On the other hand, identity theft is a whole other problem that can pose as a major issue for people even after they think that they have handled the issue. Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft, but most don’t realize it’s only the tip of the iceberg of what can happen. Identity theft happens when a criminal gains access to your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) and uses it for economic gain. PII includes Social Security number, full name, date of birth, address, health insurance policy number, bank accounts, etc. Criminals can use this information to perform some of the most detrimental types of identity theft, like medical identity theft and IRS tax fraud, which cannot be monitored by traditional monitoring services and which take hundreds and even thousands of hours to fix. These expenses are not covered by any bank, as they are with credit card fraud.

When you try to fix your own case of identity theft, you need to paint a story of what happened, advocate on your own behalf, and even take time off from work to do all of this since the agencies that you’ll have to deal with only operate during working hours. The time that it will take to restore your own identity can take weeks to even years if you go at it alone, but why would you take on the burden of such an important job? The effects of an identity theft can be life altering; therefore, it is absolutely essential to keep a watchful eye on your personal identity and have a plan in place if something like this were to happen.

The bottom line is that there’s really no better time than the present to become a LibertyID member for identity theft restoration protection. LibertyID provides expert, full service, fully managed identity theft restoration to individuals, couples, extended families* and businesses. LibertyID has a 100% success rate in resolving all forms of identity fraud on behalf of our subscribers.

*Extended families – primary individual, their spouse/partner, both sets of parents (including those that have been deceased for up to a year), and all children under the age of 25