Innovations in money making need not necessarily be genuine. They can take the worst route out there to make good their voracity. While earning recognition is far from easy and sophisticated, losing one’s identity happens to be as simple as that. Identity theft is widely prevalent and is extensively injurious to global economy.
Identity theft or impersonation implies taking upon oneself some other’s prospects and resources by obtaining the latter’s personal and financial information. The victim’s name, social security number, credit card number and other financial account information are those that serve to enlighten the identity thieves. They are able to get this information by way of dumpster diving, phishing, stealing and by a million other means! This in turn enables them to become rich at no expense and attaches on them a credibility that is someone else’s. Others on the other hand are imposed with such losses that could cost them their money, credibility, time, scrupulousness and merit.
Nearly 12 million people each year are affected by identity fraud and it is on an ever increasing trend. According to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book for January to December 2010 issued by the Federal Trade Commission in 2011, “Government documents/benefits fraud was the most common form of reported identity theft reaching up to 19 %, followed by credit card fraud at 15%, phone fraud at 14%, employment fraud at 11%, bank fraud at 10% and loan fraud at 4%.” (Consumer Sentinel Network Data book 2011)
Money laundering by illegal means is the most significant consequence of identity theft. Credit card account or Securities Trading Account details phished from vulnerable victims might end up in large scale scandals and bankruptcy. Stolen identities help the thieves not only to commit crimes but also to get away with their acquired approbation. Gaining government and corporate benefits by fraudulent means and forgery can deprive the genuine and gullible of their rightful dues leading to exorbitant losses. The victim is stripped of his money, monetary reputation and means and is at loss to sign for all kinds of loans and purchases for the rest of his life. With mounting debts or debentures of unforeseen nature and little means to combat them on account of the lost reputation of late, impels him to get caught between the devil and the deep sea. The resultant woes and apprehensions are detrimental to the victim’s health and peace of mind.
Identity theft is the most potential danger for businesses striving to be successful. It has got the propensity to ruin key relationships that are essential for any entrepreneurial success. The wide range of personal identifiable information (PII) of employees and customers is liable for pilferage eventually leading on to their plight of losing them to hackers (Inc. staff 2010). This information then gets sold for a song to those who are talented in carrying out large scale financial frauds. While a small chunk of the information gets out through the company’s grapevine, outside attacks by breaking into a company’s computer network either through data breaches or through malware attacks plays a major role in seepage of information (Inc. staff 2010).
Encryption is one of the most trustworthy ways to safeguard personal identifiable information. Secure socket layer ( SSL) and Transport layer security (TLS)are some of the technologies used to encrypt transmitted data . Firewall protection along with antivirus and antispyware protection in business computers help protect significant data from perpetrators of fraud (Inc. staff 2010).
Identity theft is of global concern and because of this feature it is difficult to prosecute the hackers according to one particular code of law. Locating them and prosecuting them is extremely difficult as most countries do not have stringent laws to prosecute them. The hackers are invariably at large as it is in their scheme of things to devise new techniques that get past anti spam software and firewalls.
Identity theft cases elicit great interest among the common public apart from the concern they are bound to bear. One such case is the Billy Coats court case which happened in 2007. This 50 year old man called Billy Coats received up to 25 years in prison for identity theft towards allegedly having stolen identities from more than 50 people. His job was to employ various methods to steal the identity cards that bore relevant details for fraudulent excursions. He was identified to be a part of a gang involved in check scam (Identity theft court cases 2009).
Illegal immigration through identity thefts not only deprives a nation of its eligible resources but also is a threat to the Nation’s security in that it might help a potential terrorist to evade terrorist watch lists through his forged identity. In 2011, fifteen states, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and the District of Columbia enacted legislation regarding identity theft. Depending on the state involved there are a range of legislations from criminal penalties, restitution and identity theft passport laws (NCSL 2010).
Identity theft has been called the fastest growing white collar crime in America. Identity theft is alleged to have spread through the extensively diverse American community. It is important for America to have serious concern about identity theft taking into consideration its large population of immigrants. Economy is intricately related to multiple transactions which ought to be precise and apt. Identity theft has got serious impact in the plausibility of such transactions as money gets siphoned off without the knowledge of the victim. This might lead to financial crises that ultimately can hamper the prospects of the Nation. Identity theft therefore is a certain blemish in the financial set-up of a nation that can risk its prospects and resources. It ought to be in the interest of every nation world-wide to do away with it by way of appropriate legislations.