The Implications of Identity Fraud

Identity theft is the crime that most people fozia shan siddiqi. If you do not know much about identity theft, you should make sure you read and learn about this type of criminal activity. You cannot protect yourself, if you do not understand the crime!

Around the world people are beginning to acknowledge that albeit a comparatively new form of criminal activity the instances of identify theft and fraud are on the increase. Every year there are more cases of identity theft.

According to the Federal Bureau of Intelligence (FBI) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) identity fraud is among the fastest growing crimes in the USA and is also receiving increasing media attention. The instances of Identity Fraud has created over 27 million victims and the loss of billions of dollars to businesses and financial institutions from 1998 to 2006.

Identity theft is growing at an alarming rate in the UK and it is predicted to get much worse. Identity fraud has been identified as costing the UK billions of pounds a year, and is one of Britain’s fastest growing crimes, yet people are still not doing enough to protect themselves.

Not just in the USA and the UK is identity theft is causing concern but in every major country around the world. Stealing another person’s identity is a growth industry and as fast as law enforcement agencies, government departments and financial institutions move to plug gaps and loopholes, the criminals find new ways to exploit a fundamentally flawed system based on old-fashioned paper and cumbersome, slow-moving bureaucracies.

The term identity fraud has become very popular over the last 10 years. There are many explanations on what identity fraud is but I believe it is most accurately described as the crime committed when someone’s good name and identity is stolen and used for illegal purposes.

Identity fraud is a far wider problem than the popular understanding that criminals assume another person’s identity to obtain cash, property or services. Unfortunately, thieves are very clever and they can steal your information very easily and use it any amount of different ways. Some of the possibilities include:

– By rifling through your household rubbish to try and find important personal details (receipts, bank statements etc). You would be amazed what people put in their rubbish.

– By simply obtaining a credit card number or the actual credit card can allow criminals to make unauthorised charges to your account. Credit card numbers are on any receipts you receive for purchases made. Also on your monthly statements you receive in the mail. If you lose a credit card for some reason your number is on it and can be used fraudulently. Credit card fraud can occur at a merchant or over the telephone or the Internet where you do not need to be present to purchase goods. Who knows what is happening at the other end – we tend to trust people too much.

– By Skimming – this is form of credit card fraud that occurs in the course of a normal, legitimate transaction and involves copying the magnetic stripe from a genuine payment card and transferring the information to a substitute counterfeit card.

– Hacking into personal computers and databases. With the technology that is available today even criminals with the basic technology skills can hack into computer systems.

– By gaining the trust of the unsuspecting victim to elicit their personal information from them. This is commonly known as Social Engineering or Pretexting. These are illegal practices were your information is gained by false pretences.

Identity fraud is not exclusive to one particular type of criminal activity. Identity fraud is now becoming big business and it encompasses most of the major criminal sectors in some form or other, including, illegal immigration, drug trafficking, money laundering, vehicle theft and fraud against the public and private sector.

Identity theft is becoming a clear and growing threat to all forms of our society. Everywhere you look, identity fraud is making news these days.

Though commonly referred to as a “privacy” problem, identity fraud can be more accurately described as a financial crime. The fact is, bank and credit card identity fraud is big business these days and you can get caught out in several different ways.

One of the biggest problems in the battle against identity fraud is the growing sophistication of the methods being used, which in most cases stay ahead of detection methods. The introduction of Chip and PIN to combat credit card fraud has made fraudsters turn to new scams and identity fraud is proving particularly lucrative.

While “true name identity theft” is a very real problem, the reality is that consumers never report the majority of identity fraud because consumers are never directly victimised. Unfortunately, in many areas identity fraud is not acknowledged and is not as a crime and is rarely prosecuted.

One of the strongest ways of stopping identity fraud is education, and education comes in the form of knowledge. The best defence most people have against identity fraud is early detection.

Preventing identity fraud requires a conscience change in behaviour that makes you alert and aware of the way you manage your personal information on a daily basis. It is easier to prevent a problem arising rather than having to sort it out. As it can take many frustrating phone calls to deal with banks, credit card companies and other lenders if you have been a victim to identity fraud.

One theory of reducing the potential for identity fraud is to introduce national identity card schemes throughout the major countries of the world. An International/National Identity Register, using biometric technology to crack down on multiple identities and secure personal data on behalf of the individual, would back these.

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