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                      Identity Theft
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          Writing Project/EG372 – Written Analysis

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                                 5/26/2011

                Belinda Huddleston, Ivan Cruz & Bryan Mitchell


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                                                                                        Identity Theft pg.2


        What is Identity Theft? According to Milwaukee County Sheriff website “Whoever intentionally

uses, or attempts to use, any personal identifying information or personal identification document of an

individual to obtain credit; money; goods; services or anything else of value, without the authorization

or consent of the individual and by representing that he or she is the individual, or is acting with the

authorization or consent of the individual. This is covered under Wisconsin State Statute 943.201,

Misappropriation of Personal Identifying Information or Personal Identification Documents” (Identity

Theft). Identity theft is the use of an individual's personal information - including such identifiers as

social security numbers, driving license numbers, financial cards and account information. This

information can be used to fraudulently obtain such things as loans, credit, employment, healthcare

services, rentals and mortgages.


        Identity theft means that someone steals your personal information and uses it without your

knowledge or consent to commit fraud or other crimes. For example, if someone opened a credit card in

your name, and began buying things using that card, that would be identity theft. If they are not caught

right away, the thief may build up credit by paying the first bills on time, and then when the credit card

company gives him a larger credit limit, they charge more things and escape without paying for them.

The credit card company thinks it is you since the card is in your name. Victim’s name, address,

telephone number, drivers license number, social Security number, employer or place of employment,

employer Identification number is used to commit identity theft among thieves. Credit cards, debit

cards, and checks are not considered identity theft according to the Milwaukee County Sheriff that is

financial card crimes, and forgery. However, as the use of the Internet has grown, so too have the

incidences of online identity theft. Businesses should care also because they have become at risk of this

problem. For a start, theft of credit card and account information is one of the most common reasons

for identity theft, but consumer liability is generally capped in the case of such fraud - leaving financial

institutions to pick up the pieces.
                                                                                        Identity Theft pg.3


        By now, if you haven't had a credit card misused, you probably know someone who has. In a

2004 report, the Federal Trade Commission estimates that 9.9 million Americans, or 4.6 percent of the

population, had their identity hijacked in 2002 alone (MacDonald, 2005). More than half of those, 5.2

million, came through credit card accounts, at a cost of $47 billion. On average, victims lost $1,180 and

spent 60 hours resolving the problem. (MacDonald, 2005).


        Identity theft is a huge and growing problem in the US. Some surveys have estimated that one

out of three Americans has been affected. Women are more affected by identity fraud than men are,

according to a new survey that also found that it takes women longer to restore their identities but they

also tend to change their behavior afterward (Mills, 2009). In a survey of 808 U.S. households, half of

which reported fraud, 28 percent of women said they had been victims of identity fraud compared with

21 percent for men (Mills, 2009). Also in 2009 there was a survey completed by Javelin Research that

nearly 1 in 20 Americans have experienced direct loss of nearly $5,000 dollars on average. Of these, 11%

have been attributed to online fraud.


        According to the National Check Fraud Center, “The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence

Act of 1998 which became effective October 30, 1998, makes identity theft a Federal crime with

penalties up to 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. It establishes that the person

whose identity was stolen is a true victim. Previously, only the credit grantors who suffered monetary

losses were considered victims. This legislation enables the Secret Service, the Federal Bureau of

Investigation, and other law enforcement agencies to combat this crime. It allows for the identity theft

victim to seek restitution if there is a conviction. It also establishes the Federal Trade Commission as a

central agency to act as a clearinghouse for complaints, (against credit reporting agencies and credit

grantors) referrals, and resources for assistance for victims of identity theft. This statute may serve as a

model for your state to enact similar legislation. It should also provide you leverage to influence law
                                                                                       Identity Theft pg.4


enforcement to investigate your case” (Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 , 1995-

2011).


         Identity theft was clearly identified as a serious crime when the Identity Theft Act was passed.

Since that time great strides have been made to combat the problem, but much work remains to be

done. Law enforcement agencies at all levels, federal and non-federal, must work together to develop

strategies for the investigation and prosecution of offenders. At the same time, the law enforcement

community must work closely with private industry to develop effective education and prevention

programs. The crime of the new millennium will not fade away soon, nor will passive efforts soften the

devastating impact upon its victims. Yet with hard work, cooperation, and effective communication

between law enforcement and the public, identity thieves will be held accountable in this new

millennium.


         It is a great way to get a hold of money from a person’s bank account. If the person is preying on

a rich person they can wire their social security number to their personal account. There can be a lot of

power behind this that you can use their name to purchase homes, cars, applying for credit, holding a

job, or getting a job. This problem exists due to criminals trying to be you and giving you a bad name.

This is by using your name on credit cards.


         Identity theft is usually blamed on the criminal but in today society it can be a problem due to

the victim also. So far we've covered the fact that some victims may be partially to blame and that the

criminals are definitely to blame, but there's another party to blame when it comes to identity theft, and

that's the lenders and creditors themselves, not to mention the credit bureaus and information brokers

(Hunter). There are many reason to why people interact in identity theft from needing money to buying

nice things for themselves or by buying things and selling them for a profit. A loss or stolen check or

people “dumpster diving” have always been causes (Admin, 2008).
                                                                                       Identity Theft pg.5


        About half of all identity fraud is committed by people close to the victim. Friends, family

members, relatives, employees, and caregivers all have access to private information like personnel

records, employment details, insurance policies and account numbers (Admin, 2008). They can be

young, old, rich, poor, any color, or nationality/ethnicity that can be a masterminded criminal. It can be

the very person that you least suspect. If a criminal sees the opportunity, then he/she will take

advantage of that situation. They just need to get the information that they need to gain access to the

person’s account.


        It’s you that have to be very alert to your surroundings. There are numerous ways that people

forget to secure their information. They leave there things unattended. That is a perfect way for an

identity thief to go in your wallet or computer. It can be due to carelessness on ones part to causes the

problem. This is making you a target for the crime.


        The victim can get bad credit. That can cause a huge problem if that person is trying to purchase

a car, home, or get a job. This can also destroy your future causing bills that you are forced to pay

without you even purchasing the item or credit card. This in a long run can have fatal consequences to

your credit score. Think twice on what you are doing with you identity. Protect yourself from these

criminals.


        There have been many solutions to trying to secure your identity or by prosecuting those that

have been charged with identity theft. The questions that concern us are things like; will it ever end? can

we get compensation for our loses?, can we make sure that they never do it again?, and is there any

way to keep your identity safe? These are just a few questions that we may have. We will have to be

able to deter and pose harsh penalties to those who attempted to fraud the system.


        Identity theft is just not meant for those who just desire monetary greed. Gerald Barnes was

incredibly passionate about becoming a doctor, and was willing to do anything he could to practice
                                                                                        Identity Theft pg.6


medicine. He did everything, of course, except go to medical school. Instead, Barnes made a career of

stealing the identities of actual MD’s, and establishing himself based on their hard work. He has been

convicted several times through this sham, but every time he was released, Barnes would do it again.

Also a 33-year-old woman stole her daughter’s identity to attend high school and join the cheerleading

squad. Wendy Brown, of Green Bay, faces a felony identity theft charge after enrolling in Ashwaubenon

High School as her 15-year-old daughter. Brown wanted to get her high school degree and become a

cheerleader because she didn’t have a childhood and wanted to regain a part of her life that she’d

missed. (ErinR, 2009)


        One of the answers that were proposed is the use of a company such as Life Lock, which for a

minimum fee of $10 a month, the Life Lock Identity Alert system can identify fraudulent acts on some

forms of credit and non-credit related services. The owner Todd Davis plastered his social security

number on billboards and trucks, to show how the company worked. Since doing so, his identity has

been used up to twenty five different times. This clearly wasn’t a way to deter identity theft. It was a

way of being alerted of any actions, not of your doing, on your credit report. We cannot trust

companies, such as this either because they were caught keeping their credit information in a state of

constant "fraud alert." So who can you trust to protect your identity?


        2004 George Bush signed a bill that would make laws on identity theft a bit stricter. Nearly 10

million people have had some form of their identity stolen and acted upon. It is estimated that it’s been

more than 10 billion dollar worth of illegal transaction taken place due to identity theft. In Wisconsin for

unauthorized use of an individual’s personal identifying information and unauthorized use of an entity’s

identifying information or documents is a Class H Felony, the penalty is a fine of up to $10,000, or

imprisonment of up to 6 years, or both; however, for a repeat offender, the term of imprisonment may
                                                                                     Identity Theft pg.7


increase up to 2 years with prior misdemeanor convictions, and up to 6 years with a prior felony

conviction.


        It should not be this hard to find those guilty of identity theft and punish them accordingly.

Wisconsin has one of the toughest penalties when it comes to identity theft, yet it’s hard to deter

individuals from making such ignorant decisions on stealing someone’s life. Financially your credit is

what helps you obtain certain perks or the ability to purchase without complete funds. When someone

messes that up for you, it should be the harshness of the offense into which they are punished. Your

credit should be cleared and for the next offense it should be more severe than before. It’s hard for

punishment and deterrents to work because people it’s either someone trying to get by on hard times

or greed and stupidity.


        Is there an answer or a total solution for this problem of identity theft? The answer is no,

because greed and ignorance is here to stay. There are hundreds of thousands of people wishing and

wanting to be someone else or have the financial backing of some of their peers. You could never

completely be rid of this problem, but you can take actions to increase punishment and protection. They

could tag social security numbers as soon as someone is deceased or missing so the number is not used

inaccurately. Severely punish those that choose to be repeat offenders. They can offer bigger rewards

for those who catch someone committing fraudulent activities. As individuals, you should be able to

check your credit report more frequently without being charge for you financial information. These are

just a few suggestions to deter and detect someone from stealing your identity.


        Allowing people of Identity Theft to get a new social security number and be allowed to start a

new string of credit could possibly be another solution. The awareness of identity theft among society

has skyrocketed in the past year primarily because of media coverage. People have become much more

wary of disclosing personal information and having it given out without their consent, especially on the
                                                                                        Identity Theft pg.8


Internet. These outcries by members of the public have resulted in some legislative attention brought to

the issue, both on the federal level and in the states. According to the Social Security Administration

issuing a new social security number will not always solve the solution of being an identity theft victim.

The social security website states, “For some victims of identity theft, a new number actually creates

new problems. If the old credit information is not associated with the new number, the absence of any

credit history under the new number may make it more difficult for you to get credit” (Identity Theft

And Your Social Security Number, 2009). This solution is the human right if their credit has been

damaged in a crime due to identity theft and you can be issued a new social security number there are

just a lot of steps to go through to obtain the number. The solution does not cost any dollar amount,

social security number are free with the right documents issued to the administrator in your state.

solution is through the local government and there shouldn’t be any issue with obtaining a new number

with them with the correct documents.


        If you can’t get a new Social Security number and you’re worried about becoming victimized

again, the next best thing you can do is get an identity theft protection plan. Then you have several sets

of eyes, both electronic and human, keeping a close watch on your credit file to get you notified of any

new fraud right away. Several of these services even compensate you for the time you take off work to

get everything back to the way it should be and others even offer million-dollar insurance policies or

guarantees to help you recover money lost due to your identity theft case. But I would also be careful

with these companies who so offer protection to the consumer yet become victims of this crime their

self. And last but not least it is believe this solution does nothing but decrease the chances of the victim

becoming a victim again.


        The best solution is to protect your credit cards, account numbers, and personal information as

much as possible from anyone who seems to not be a legitimate person obtaining your information.
                                                                                     Identity Theft pg.9


Identity theft has grown and will continue to grow if we as the consumer do not protect our identity; but

how can you protect your identity when people are so focus on damaging your identity?
               Source                     Aristotle,   Author Bias                Main Points of the Article
                APA                       Kinneavy
                                          Toulmin
                                                                                            Identity Theft pg.10
ErinR. (2009, September 5). List          Toulmin      NO               June/2007 CEO Todd Davis became a victim of
Verse. Retrieved from                                                    identity theft.
www.listverse.com:                                                      Davis didn’t know about a man in Texas taking out a
http://listverse.com/2009/09/05/10-                                      500 loan until it went to collection.
bizarre-cases-of-identity-theft/                                        Davis exposed his SSN as advertisement for Life Lock
Hunter, J. (n.d.). Identity Theft: More
Than the Criminals Are to Blame.
Retrieved from Identity Theft
Fixes.com:
http://www.identitytheftfixes.com/id
entity_theft_more_than_the_crimina
ls_are_to_blame.html
Identity Theft. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Milwaukee County Government:
http://county.milwaukee.gov/Identit
yThieft9119.htm
Identity Theft and Assumption
Deterrence Act of 1998 . (1995-2011).
Retrieved from National Check Fraud
Center:
http://www.ckfraud.org/title_18.htm
l
Identity Theft And Your Social
Security Number. (2009, August).
Retrieved from Social Security.GOV:
http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.ht
ml
KIM, S. (2011, May 19). Mom,
Accused of Stealing Nanny's Identity,
Allegedly Swipes Identities of
Boyfriend, His Wife. Retrieved from
ABC News:
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/ide
ntity-thief-mom-hampshire-stolen-
identities-nanny-
boyfriend/story?id=13623569
MacDonald, J. (2005, JUly 20). The
growing problem of ID theft .
Retrieved from Bankrate.com:
http://www.bankrate.com/brm/new
s/pf/20050719a1.asp
Mills, E. (2009, May 7). Women more
affected by ID fraud, study finds.
Retrieved from CNET NEWS:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-
10236214-83.html
Stern, R. (2010, May 13). Cracking
LifeLock: Even After a $12 Million
Penalty for Deceptive Advertising, the
Tempe Company Can't Be Honest
                                                                            Identity Theft pg.11


About Its Identity-Theft-Protection
Service. Retrieved from Phoenix New
Times:
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/
2010-05-13/news/cracking-life-lock-
even-after-a-12-million-penalty-for-
deceptive-advertising-the-tempe-
company-can-t-be-honest-about-its-
identity-theft-protection-service/


http://money.cnn.com/2008/08/05/        Aristotle      11 ppl, incl 3 U.S. Citizens
news/companies/card_fraud/index.h                      Accused of hacking wireless networks of retailers,
                 tm                                     TJX & Marshall, BJ, OfficeMax, Barnes & Noble,
          August 6, 2008                                Sports authority
  11 charged in theft of more than                     They stole credit card #’s
        40M card numbers                               Passwords, & account info
           CNNMONEY                                    Debit card #’s sold over the internet & were cashed
                                                        out
                                                       10’s of 1000’s $ @ a time were withdraw from ATMs
                                                       41 million credit & debit #’s used
                                                       8 others were charged w/operating an international
                                                        stolen credit & debit card ring
                                                       Dave & Buster among victim
                                                       Sniffer 600,000 in losses to banks
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,29       Kinneavy       3 men in New Jersey in a massive identity theft case
        33,540060,00.html                              Albert Gonzalez of Miami, 28
  Three Indicted in Largest Corporate                  Charged with acting with two unnamed conspirators to
     Identity Theft Case in History                     locate large corporations and steal vital account information
       Monday, August 17, 2009
            FOXNews.com's                              Department of Justice calls "the single largest hacking and
   Allison McGevna and Mike Levine                      identity theft case ever prosecuted.”
                                                       130 million credit & debit card #s were stolen in a corporate
                                                        data breach involving 3 different corporations and two ppl
                                                       Gonzalez could face up to 20 years on a charge
                                                       $250,000 for each charge/currently in Federal custody
                                                       He went to trial on those charges in 2010, the
                                                        Department of Justice said.
                                                       8/2008 He indicted on additional charges for a # of
                                                        hacks into 8 major retailers including discount giant
                                                        TJ Maxx that involved an estimated 40 million credit
                                                        cards & cost TJ Maxx $200 million.
                                                    
     An Identity Theft Nightmare        Aristotle      Almost 10 million Americans were victims of identity
      HARTFORD, Feb. 25, 2005                           theft last year.
             Ayaz Nanji                                The Connecticut salesman has spent over 2,000
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/20                       hours trying to reclaim his life after having his
05/02/25/eveningnews/consumer/m                         identity stolen
          ain676597.shtml                              4 years ago, when a 20-year-old stole his identity
                                                                    Identity Theft pg.12


                                                  and literally went for a ride.
                                                 Lowes, Home Depot, Sears, JC Penny, two cars from
                                                  Ford, a Harley, a Kawasaki motorcycle
                                                 $265,000 in four months
                                                 He remains nearly $140,000 in debt
                                                  Some suggestions for victims of identity theft
                                                  include:

                                                                        jor credit bureaus -- and your
                                                  creditors


      How Identity Theft Works      Toulmin      Types - Financial fraud & Criminal activities
http://money.howstuffworks.com/id
          entity-theft.htm                               Computer and cyber crimes
         Lee Ann Obringer                                Organized crime
         How Stuff Works                                 Drug trafficking
                                                         Alien smuggling
                                                         Money laundering

                                                 Your full name
                                                 Your address
                                                 Your social security number
                                                 Your complete bank account number (if you
                                                  have direct deposit)
                                                 Your employer and its address
                                                 Your rate of pay

                                                 Dumpster diving
                                                                  Identity Theft pg.13


                   Appendix

1. Who is affected by Identity Theft?

2. Where does identify theft occur the most?

3. How much money has been accounted for the loss due to identity theft?

4. Can you recover from identity theft?

5. Who steals a person identity the most?

6. What has the economy done to prevent this problem?

7. Are the dead subject to identity theft more over the living?

8. Is identity theft a blue collar crime or an internet crime?

9. How can you protect yourself from identity theft?

10. What can Identity Theft do to your life?

11. Is there any way to be protected by this crime?

12. How many people are affected by Identity Theft?

13. How often should you check your credit report?

14. What information should you insure you protect?

15. What are the reasons people try and steal your identity?

16. What are some problems occur once your identity has been stolen?
                                                                                    Identity Theft pg.14




Works Cited
Admin. (2008, January 31). The Main Causes of Identity Theft and Some Important Identity Theft
Protection Tips. Retrieved from LifeLock Blog: http://www.lifelockblog.com/archive/the-main-causes-
of-identity-theft-and-some-important-identity-theft-protection-tips/

ErinR. (2009, September 5). List Verse. Retrieved from www.listverse.com:
http://listverse.com/2009/09/05/10-bizarre-cases-of-identity-theft/

Hunter, J. (n.d.). Identity Theft: More Than the Criminals Are to Blame. Retrieved from Identity Theft
Fixes.com:
http://www.identitytheftfixes.com/identity_theft_more_than_the_criminals_are_to_blame.html

Identity Theft. (n.d.). Retrieved from Milwaukee County Government:
http://county.milwaukee.gov/IdentityThieft9119.htm

Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 . (1995-2011). Retrieved from National Check
Fraud Center: http://www.ckfraud.org/title_18.html

Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number. (2009, August). Retrieved from Social Security.GOV:
http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html

KIM, S. (2011, May 19). Mom, Accused of Stealing Nanny's Identity, Allegedly Swipes Identities of
Boyfriend, His Wife. Retrieved from ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/identity-thief-mom-
hampshire-stolen-identities-nanny-boyfriend/story?id=13623569

MacDonald, J. (2005, JUly 20). The growing problem of ID theft . Retrieved from Bankrate.com:
http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/pf/20050719a1.asp

Mills, E. (2009, May 7). Women more affected by ID fraud, study finds. Retrieved from CNET NEWS:
http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-10236214-83.html

Stern, R. (2010, May 13). Cracking LifeLock: Even After a $12 Million Penalty for Deceptive Advertising,
the Tempe Company Can't Be Honest About Its Identity-Theft-Protection Service. Retrieved from
Phoenix New Times: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2010-05-13/news/cracking-life-lock-even-
after-a-12-million-penalty-for-deceptive-advertising-the-tempe-company-can-t-be-honest-about-its-
identity-theft-protection-service/

How Not to Get Hooked by a ‘Phishing’ Scam. (2005, June). Retrieved from Federal Trade
     Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt127.shtm

National and State Trends Fraud& Identity Theft. (2005, February 1). Retrieved from Federal Trade
       Commission: http://ftc.gov/sentinel/reports/sentinel-annual-reports/sentinel-cy2004.pdf
                                                                                  Identity Theft pg.15


Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft. (2005, June). Retrieved from Federal Trade
       Commission: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt04.shtm

				
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