Identity Theft - DOC by 3avw32z

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                      Identity Theft
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          Writing Project/EG372 – Written Analysis

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                          May 19, 20011

                  Belinda Huddleston, Ivan & Bryan


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        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.
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        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
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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.
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                                           References
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

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

								
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