What is Identity Theft?

Know the risks

Identity theft happens when criminals get a hold of your sensitive personal information to take out loans, open fraudulent accounts, falsify tax returns, purchase properties, and use your good name to break the law.

1: How your information is taken

Hacking continues to rank highest among types of identity theft attacks and breach rates are going up. In 2017 there were 1,579 breaches and 178,955,069 records exposed.

While hacking makes up 60% of data attacks, not all threats to information happen online. Physical documents, institutional records, and lost wallets can also be used to expose sensitive information and commit identity theft. Criminals have many ways to access personal information, and some of them are completely out of your control.

…No matter how careful you are, your information can be stolen


- 2017 Risk Based Securities

2: What information is stolen

Identity thieves are the new pickpockets, but what they steal
is more personal and damaging than cash or personal items.

Some of the most targeted pieces of information, such as full
names and Social Security numbers, don’t change often over the
course of a lifetime. When stolen and used by an identity thief,
these more permanent pieces of information can’t be easily
changed to resolve the problem.

Are you seeing the signs of identity theft?

3: What can happen with the information that has been stolen

Synthetic Identity Theft is the “fastest growing type of ID fraud,” representing 80-85% of all current identity fraud

Identity thieves can mesh personal data with fabricated information to build an entirely new synthetic identity which they can use in a variety of ways, such as taking out loans or committing financial fraud. Synthetic Identity Theft is currently the fastest growing type of identity fraud – targeting difficult to resolve information such as your SSN and birth date.

- 2017 Experian

Criminal Identity Theft can be hard to detect

When fraudsters use your identity to commit crimes there’s more at stake than just the financial impact. Fraudulent charges on your criminal record can affect your ability to get a job, apply for a driver’s license, and can even lead to victims needing to post bail. This kind of identity theft can remain undiscovered until fraudulent charges appear on a background check. This type of theft can take place when your ID is stolen or lost and can remain unnoticed by the victim until fraudulent charges appear a background check, or they face false legal charges.

Total losses due to Account Takeover Fraud reached $5.1 billion in 2017

Account takeover fraud involves criminals gaining access to bank and credit card accounts of individuals, as well as corporations and businesses. Access to the accounts allows thieves to change passwords, empty accounts, and open false credit cards leading to victims sometimes being hunted down by collection services.

- 2017 Experian

Medical related identity theft went up 40% in 2017

Medical Identity Theft is when someone uses a fake identity to procure medical services, which can affect medical coverage and treatment. Falsely influenced medical records can lead to a doctor prescribing the wrong medication or a patient being unable to receive their medication, causing significant damage before being recognized. Prevention of medical identity theft requires consistent reviewing of medical statements and medical claims.

- 2017 Federal Trade Commission

33% of the Child Identity Theft victims knew the person who stole their information

- Stolba, 2018 Experian

Adults go to great lengths to protect their identity, but don’t always consider providing the same level of protection to their children. That’s why Complete ID offers additional Child Identity Monitoring1.

Learn More About Child Monitoring

18.9% of all identity theft affects Americans who were 60 or older

Older Americans usually have assets that increase their risk of being a target of identity theft. They also generally lose more money when victimized. In recent years, a series of phone scams targeting seniors have become so widespread that the FTC has circulated special press releases to address the issue.

- 2017 Federal Trade Commission

Social media hacking and hoaxes can target those around you

Are your social media security settings in tip-top shape? What about all your friend’s, and their friend’s? It’s the nature of social media sites to be an information epicenter, and you don’t have to be breached directly to have your info exposed. The personal facts identity thieves pull from social media can be sold on the dark web, used to create a synthetic identity, or create an impostor social account imitating yours.

Identity theft can happen anytime, anywhere

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Beyond the financial impact


Unlike other types of theft, identity theft hurts more than just your bank account.

Identity theft can affect your life options and basic necessities. When your identity has been compromised it can lead to false criminal charges, bank account charges, and a lowered credit score. It can eventually result in job loss, reduced access to housing, and the inability to attain credit cards, student loans, personal loans, and/or mortgages.

The consequences can extend much deeper. Not only did 75.5% of victims feel severely distressed by their identity being violated, but 35% of respondents sought some form of professional help to deal with the emotional impact.


How Complete ID Works

Key features at a costco member value

Identity Protection

There’s a lot of variety and complexity possible for every identity theft case. Simple protective measures, like annually checking credit reports, no longer cut it. It’s necessary to have a comprehensive and proactive approach to identity protection.


It’s important to know about your financial health, just like it’s important to know about your physical health. Your credit gets a regular checkup as part of your Complete ID membership.



Don’t get lost in the labyrinth of processes required to resolve ID theft. Our specialists know all the routes and pitfalls no matter the type of theft, so you can have years of expertise at your back when tackling your case.


*$8.99 per month per person for Executive Members or $13.99 per month per person for Gold Star and Business Members, plus sales tax where applicable. Service provided by Experian®.

1Child Protection cost is in addition to the monthly price and subject to the same terms & conditions ($2.99 per month for Executive Members or $3.99 per month for Gold Star and Business Members plus applicable sales tax for up to 5 children). Children must be under 18 years old to receive Child Protection. Parent/Legal Guardian will need to pass a one-time guardianship verification process to receive alert content for children.

2The Identity Theft Insurance is underwritten and administered by American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida, an Assurant company under group or blanket policy(ies). The description herein is a summary and intended for informational purposes only and does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the policies described. Please refer to the actual policies for terms, conditions, and exclusions of coverage. Coverage may not be available in all jurisdictions. Review the Summary of Benefits.

3Monitoring with Experian begins within 48 hours of enrollment in Complete ID. Monitoring with Equifax and TransUnion takes approximately 4 days to begin. You may cancel your membership in Complete ID any time online or by calling 1-855-591-0202.

4Calculated on the VantageScore 3.0 model. Your VantageScore 3.0 from Experian indicates your credit risk level and is not used by all lenders; your lender may use a score that’s different from your VantageScore 3.0. Click here to learn more about this.