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A person who pretends to be another person for the purpose of using the latter's financial information for personal gain. Identity theft can be fairly basic; for example, one may steal and use a credit card. Often, however, identity thieves use computer programs to find a person's financial information and conduct large transactions with that person's money. Identity theft is a serious crime, as it can ruin the victim's credit, making it difficult to obtain a loan when one is needed. Many banks and credit card companies provide identity theft protection to reduce a client's liability for identity theft and to minimize its occurrence.