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The genesis of collecting and recording individual information such as deaths and births, the living of groups of people or individuals in a given locality was accompanied by the development of postal services which ensured that people were known by their numbers or names. Due to this development, people have obtained identities based in this development which could be viewed as modern society’s essential cornerstone. Hence there has been an opportunity for one to steal this important information and use it in committing different kinds of crimes. The modern advances in the field of information technology have led to the transfer of information from the hard copies to the soft copies hence increasing the risk of storage of such critical information. Any losses of such sensitive information can far reaching consequences on an individual or an organization (Photopoulos, 8).
Identity theft which is sometimes referred to as identity fraud encompasses any crimes whereby an individual unlawful obtains another individual’s personal data and uses it in fraudulent activities. According to the United States of America’s identity theft and assumption deterrence act of 1998, identity theft is defined as a range of activities that are illegal that utilize another person’s basic or personal information to commit crime (Photopoulos, 12).
Types of identity theft
A case whereby an individual (imposter) gives another person’s basic information like for example name or identification card information, to law enforcement agents during arrest or investigation. Consequently a criminal record, for the victim, may be created leading to either employment denial or arrest warrant issuance. This is termed criminal identity theft. Identity theft may also be committed via the utilization of identifiers like identification numbers, social security numbers to create new accounts and incur credit and charges in another person’s name while the victim has no knowledge of the transactions. The criminals may also utilize these identifiers for other criminal activities. One of such criminal activities is impersonation. A third way that identity theft can take place is through identifiers of financial accounts for accessing a person’s already existing accounts to make illegal withdrawals or charges (McNally and Newman, 7).
Consequences of Identity Theft
Victims of this crime are often faced with uphill task of making their credit record straight, at a time when their own ability to be granted loans and their ratings in terms of credit has been negatively affected to a large extent. In extreme cases where criminals impersonalize and obtain the victim’s basic information and use it to access the victim’s bank accounts, loans and other transaction without the victim’s knowledge, the victim maybe shocked he/she will be confronted by bill collectors, bankruptcy filed against the victim’s name, government demands for unpaid taxes. Identity theft can also result in the victim getting difficulties in obtaining new jobs or new apartments to rent as majority of landlords and employers scrutinize credit record when receiving new applicants (McNally and Newman, 15).
Identity theft can be very destructive to the victim in terms of the energy and time that he/ she needs to remediate its aftermath. The time that a victim takes to recover from identity theft can be very long and the process can be painful, stressful and costly. A lot of time plus other expenses will be required for one to rectify reports on credit with the concern agencies; there will be need to rectify charges disputed with specific creditors, monitoring reports on credit to establish any extra losses or consequences of the identity theft. Identity theft may lead to a given organization losing its clients if they feel that the organization is compromising their basic information. This may lead to the fall of such organization even if risk analysis indicates minimal possibility of such breach leading to identity theft (Biegelman, 22).