Criminology Case Study – Identity Theft

On the 10th of September, 2009 New York State police officers arrested and charged a woman from Newstead. The woman stole personal consumer information at her place of employment at a local debt collection agency and then used this information to purchase various items. She did all this through the use of checking account and credit card numbers of 10 different individuals. Subsequently she was charged with defrauding and online identity theft (Lockport Union-Sun & Journal, 2009). Identity theft is one of the biggest concerns plaguing every nation in the world. In 2007 alone the United States according to a study lost 3.2 billion dollars in online transactions. Another major U.S research firm found that one of the most common online cons cost consumers 929 million dollars in 2005 (Boyer 2008 p.7). This paper will put forth the argument that current standards of proving ones identity are prone to theft and misuse and a more secure system should be implemented to safeguard identity in the future.

In order to understand the concepts behind identity theft it is first important to know what identity means. Identity according to Richard Clarke refers to the “sameness of essential or generic character in different instances.” Today identification of this identity has boiled down to a series of number and digits which can be retrieved at will by any bank, legal or government institution anywhere around the world. Identity theft is the use of this identity in the practice of abusing its original intent. This new malicious intent may be directed towards committing fraud in terms of money, checks, credit, forgery, immigration fraud or terrorist activity.

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