Identity Theft

Essay by tourisTTrophy3.2College, UndergraduateA+, February 2009

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It is just another ordinary day while someone is checking their e-mail. In amongst the messages from mom, newsletters, and other items there is a message marked important. The e-mail is from their credit card company and they need to verify the information listed on the account. To make it easy, the credit card company provided a direct link in the e-mail. The link is clicked and the account is squared away. All is well again and the e-mail from mom can be resumed. Unfortunately, all is not well, as this person was just a target of a scam called "phishing" and they just quite possibly became a victim of identity theft.

Computers bring great convenience to our lives through online shopping and banking, but can also be dangerous because thieves put a high value on your personal and banking information. "In 2006 alone, identity theft cost consumers and businesses $49.3

billion" (Consumer Reports, 2007). Clearly identity theft is a serious problem for the consumer and business alike. There are three very important areas of identity theft; what is identity theft and how does it happen, how is personal information being safeguarded, and what are some ways to safeguard personal information.

According to the United States Department of Justice (2008), "Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain." Like the example in the introduction, phishing is just one way of stealing a person's identity, but there are several other ways and it is not just limited to the Internet. Phishing works by getting someone to log in to a fraudulent web site to gain their information. The phishing e-mail looks...