What is identity theft?

Identity theft is the crime of obtaining the personal identifying information of another person and using that information to obtain property or information to which he is not entitled, and doing so without the permission of the person whose personal identifying information is used. This is a very rapidly growing area of white collar crime, is international in scope, and is often done with sophisticated computer hacking techniques, but can also be accomplished by simply surfing trash cans. Shredders are good protection against identity theft. Penalties vary from state to state, but many identity theft offenses are felonies which carry state prison terms.