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Identity Theft: An Overview

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Identity theft involves the misrepresentation of identity through obtaining another person's personal information, such as Social Security number, driver's license number, or credit card information. Identity theft typically undermines the reputation and credit history of its victims, often subjecting them to an extremely perplexing, psychologically arduous rehabilitative process. Hence, it may take several years before a person entirely recovers from the resulting financial damages incurred.

A Modern Phenomenon

Someone may exploit another's Social Security number, for example – acquired via the internet, or some other means – by misrepresenting himself as that person in order to maliciously deprive the victim of money. Because identity theft may involve financial information, such as credit/debit cards used in merchandise/consumer transactions, it is in that sense a modern phenomenon.

Identity Theft in the Workplace

Businesses remain severely susceptible to identity theft. It occurs quite frequently in the workplace. Businesses often store customers' names, Social Security numbers, and credit card information among other miscellaneous identification material. Such a vast network of data naturally significantly increases the amount of information that is theoretically accessible, and hence the probability of someone retrieving and abusing information. Identity theft may also involve the infiltration of bank, frequent flier, and investment accounts, all maintained by businesses.

Therefore, long-term company sustainability requires security systems and protective measures to prevent such theft. Without such systems, victims, both businesses and individuals, become very vulnerable to identity theft.

Heightened Deterrence

Recently, the federal government strengthened penalties in order to curtail identity theft activity. Recent legislative developments, designed to deter the pervasive problem of identity theft, indeed ensure heightened security in an increasingly tumultuous economic climate.

Such measures include the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, a measure instituted to strengthen federal scrutiny of all fraudulent activity involving personal information, and the 2004 Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, which extends imprisonment for criminal convictions involving credit card fraud.

Significance of Recent Developments

The effectiveness of these recent developments has not entirely materialized and remains to be determined. Nevertheless, with time, additional amendments to previous measures, and technological innovations corresponding with contemporary changes in law enforcement, legislation may eventually introduce policies that considerably curtail the prevalence of identity theft in the future.

Book Sources:

Internet Sources:

    * Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act

    * Social Security Legislative Bulletin

    * Protecting Personal Information – A Guide for Business


    * Financial Crime Reports to the Public Fiscal Year 2006

    * FTC Business Information – Identity, Privacy, & Security

    * Preventing Business Identity Theft – Risk Management CFO.com 

    * ID THEFT – id theft news

    * Identity Theft and Fraud


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About Michael Staib

  • To Adrienne,

    You’re more than welcome hun! So happy to hear the felicitous news. Also, thank you for the kind, sweet gesture. 🙂 xxx

  • Adrienne

    Oh, thank you kindly, Michael! I can finish my newsletter now! 🙂 xxx

  • I permit ANYONE to use the picture. Michael

  • Adrienne

    May I have permission to use your picture in an ad for a guest speaker at my work? the topic is Identity Theft…

  • Khadian

    May i use one of your picture for my GCSE ICT coursework

  • engin

    can i plese use your image for my gcse course work please.

  • kimani

    can i use the above picture for my gcse course work in ict.

  • Alice, please feel free to utilize the picture at your discretion. I authorize complete permission. However, just remember to accurately cite it, for your professor’s sake. Sometimes professors maintain stringent plagiarism policies, and even the slightest, most innocent mistake in citation for any content, including pics, may instigate conflict. So, exercise caution. Otherwise, you may use the pic however you wish for your coursework. – Michael

  • Alice

    May I use this picture for my GCSE coursework please?