Identity Theft, Crime of the Future

Essay by S.EftinkUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, November 2004

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The purpose of this paper is to inform the reader of a new crime epidemic sweeping our nation along with our global community. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report (Broder, 2003), the 1990's spawned a new variety of crooks called identity thieves. The FTC stated before the U.S Congress that over 700,000 people a year have been affected by this crime. The perpetrators of this crime do not direct their attention towards any one single race, ethnic background or gender. Between January and December 2003, the FTC received over half of a million consumer identity theft complaints. Consumers reported losses from these complaints of more than $400 million. Internet related fraud accounted for 55% of all fraud reports, up from 45% from the previous year. In the states of Kansas alone we reported nearly 1,378.complaints of Identity theft this year. The FTC further relate to congressional members that every 79 seconds, a thief steals someone's identity, opens accounts in the victim's name and goes on a buying spree.

Identity thieves stole nearly $100 million from financial institutions last year, or an average of $6,767 per victim. It is the victim who has to prove fraud exists. The judicial system that currently exists in this country states that any one accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.

Identity theft has become the most rapidly increasing crime. What was once a personal crime requiring criminals to have some form of contact with the victim, if nothing more than rummaging through the trash, can now be done from as close as next door or as far away as across the world. In the research for this paper I identify two of the most common occurrences of identity thefts: phishing (Internet based) and Dumpster-diving followed by preventative measures. Each of...