Identity theft vs identity fraud: what is the difference?

Identity theft vs identity fraud, are they the same thing? Both are the most committed crimes in the recent Internet...
15 February 2023

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Identity theft vs identity fraud: what is the difference?

Identity theft vs identity fraud, are they the same thing? Both are the most committed crimes in the recent Internet universe. The tremendous and fast evolution of new technologies has enabled fraudsters to get ahead of cybersecurity systems, allowing them to commit this type of crime related to the usurpation of digital identity.

But what are the differences between both terms? In this post, we will try to answer that question.

What is identity theft?

Just like in real life, in the virtual world we all have an identity with which we show ourselves on social networks, we identify ourselves in electronic commerce or perform banking or personal affairs.

Therefore, it could be said that identity theft is the act committed by a person in which they pretend to be someone else to assume their digital identity and commit some type of fraud related to any of the areas mentioned above.


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How is identity theft committed?

As we have already hinted in the definition of the term, identity theft is what has always been known as pretending to be someone else, with the nuance that today it is much easier since there are hundreds of procedures that we can carry out through digital tools and without any contact with any real person.

For example, today, you can apply for a loan or complete your tax return without interacting with a human person. All this through digital means that can be found on the internet.

But this is also dangerous in essential areas for people, such as work or leisure, through social networks. Let’s see some examples of this.

identity theft

Identity theft at work

As you probably guessed, identity theft can also happen in the workplace. The purpose of this identity theft can respond to different motivations, such as:

  1. An employee within a company who decides to pretend to be a colleague to access confidential information to which they do not have access from their position.
  2. There are also examples of non-employees who can pretend to be a company’s workers to obtain some of the labor or tax benefits that exist within it.
  3. In the most extreme case, we can find workers who pretend to be high-ranking company officers to obtain benefits in other areas outside the company (social events, financial aid, etc.)

In all these cases, identity theft is illegal and can have serious consequences for the victim and the company. Therefore, it is important for entities to implement appropriate security measures, such as facial recognition, to protect their employees’ information and prevent identity theft in the workplace.

Social media Identity theft

We’ve already seen that identity theft can occur in the workplace, but it’s also true that a person’s identity can be stolen in digital leisure spheres like social media.

Although examples multiply here due to the variety of social media and the incipient originality of the usurpers, we have selected three situations that could occur:

  1. A person who pretends to be someone else on a profile that is not theirs and whose primary goal is to deceive other people associated with that profile and obtain information from the person whose profile they have usurped.
  2. Some people use a fake profile on a social network to defame or harass others so that they don’t have to use their own and assume the consequences.
  3. Finally, some people seek to gain followers and popularity through a profile that is not theirs.

In any of the three cases, it is vital to be cautious when sharing personal information on the internet and to protect your data and privacy. It is also essential to report any suspicious activity or fake profiles to the relevant authorities.

What is identity fraud?

Identity fraud is when an individual uses someone else’s personal information without permission to commit fraud or other crimes. This can include using someone’s name, address, social security number, or credit card information to open bank accounts, make purchases, or obtain loans. 

In the worst scenario, Identity fraud can cause financial loss and damage to the victim’s credit score. 

What is the difference between identity theft and identity fraud

What is the difference between Identity Theft and Identity Fraud?

In this identity theft vs identity fraud comparison, we must consider that the difference between identity theft and identity fraud is quite subtle, so it requires some clarification to understand it fully. 

As we have already said, identity theft happens when somebody impersonates someone to deceive or defraud others

Identity fraud is when someone obtains and uses another person’s personal information without their consent to obtain some personal benefit. Identity theft can include impersonation and other forms of unauthorized use of the information, such as accessing bank or email accounts without permission.

Identity theft vs identity fraud: consequences and prevention

Identity theft involves deception, while identity fraud involves illegally obtaining and using another person’s personal information. 

In either case, both are forms of fraud and can have severe consequences for the victim. That’s why it’s essential that, both personally and institutionally, you invest in digital security resources to protect your identity and that of your students or employees. And that’s where we can help.

SMOWL’s proctoring products allow you to ensure that the identity of your employees or students is correct and that none of them is impersonating you in any interview, certification, or online exam.

Request a free demo now to see how our products can help make your digital ecosystem safer.


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