Identity TheftBased on the findings of Encyclopedia.com Identity theft is the use of one person's personal information by another to commit fraud or other crimes. The most common forms of identity theft occur when someone obtains another person's social security number, driver's license number, date of birth, and uses it to open a fraudulent bank account, credit card, cellular telephone, or to obtain false loans.
Criminal identity theft, the most common nonfinancial type, occurs when someone gives another's personal information to a police officer when he or she is arrested. In addition to the financial losses resulting from identity theft, the person whose personal information has been used will have an erroneous credit or criminal history that is often expensive and time-consuming to correct.
Identity theft can also be used to enable illegal immigration, terrorism or espionage, but these are less common. There have also been cases of identity theft for the purpose of obtaining medical treatment, or for evading criminal prosecution.
Identity theft increased significantly in the late 1990s due to the computerization of records and the ability to use another's personal information anonymously over the Internet.
Techniques for stealing your information include:Ã¢ÂÂ¢stealing mail or rummaging through rubbish (dumpster diving)Ã¢ÂÂ¢eavesdropping on public transactions to obtain personal data (shoulder surfing)Ã¢ÂÂ¢stealing personal information in computer databasesÃ¢ÂÂ¢Infiltration of organizations that store large amounts of personal informationÃ¢ÂÂ¢Impersonating a trusted organization in an electronic communication (phishing)Ã¢ÂÂ¢Phishing: is a criminal activity using social engineering techniques. Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy person or business in an electronic communication.
Ã¢ÂÂ¢Spam (electronic): Some, if not all spam requires you to respond to alleged contests, enter into "Good Deals", etc.
Impact and Spread of Identity theft over the years:Surveys in the USA from 2003 to...