Lucy Hayles, Anna Sinton
What is identity theft?
Identity theft is when someone steals your
identity, and uses it to commit criminal
It is estimated that as many as 9 million
Americans have their identities stolen each
What are stolen identities
There are five main ways that fraudsters will
use your identity, once they have stolen it.
Credit card fraud
Phone or utilities fraud
Government documents fraud
Credit Card Fraud
This is when the thief either opens a new
credit account in your name, and then doesn’t
pay the bills, or when they change the
address on your credit card, so you don’t get
the bills, and don’t realise they’re spending
your money until it’s too late.
These can both turn out to be highly costly to
Phone or Utilities Fraud
They might run up bills on your existing
account, for gas or power, or create a new
account in your name.
Also, they could pretend to be you and get
utilities like TV, electricity etc.
They might make counterfeit checks, using
your name or account number, or write bad
checks in your name.
They could clone your ATM card and
withdraw money from your account, or get a
loan in your name.
Often, the victim doesn’t find out until large
amounts of money have been stolen, or they
get warning notices telling them to pay back
debts they didn’t create.
Government Documents Fraud
This is when your ID, drivers’ licence, or other
such official ID is stolen, or your identity is
used to get government benefits, or evade
They could get a job using your ID
They could get medical services, or rent a
Your ID could be given to police on arrest, and
when the thief fails to turn up in court, an
arrest warrant for you is issued.
How are peoples identities
Identity thieves use many different ways to
harvest peoples’ personal information.
This is when thieves go through your rubbish
to find personal information that you have
You should be careful when getting rid of
credit cards/bank statements etc. Always cut
up your credit cards before you dispose of
When people’s credit card numbers are stolen
using a special storage device when your card
This is when people pretend to be a bank or
other such company, and send large numbers
of spam emails to lots of people in the hope
that someone will be fooled and give them
their personal information.
Spam makes up about 78% of all emails sent.
In January 2010, an estimated 183 billion
spam emails were sent each day, compared
to 2.4 billion each day in 2002.
When thieves steal your handbag or break
into your house and steal things the old-
When people use false pretences to obtain your
personal information from financial institutions,
telephone companies, and other sources.
Basically it’s pretending to be someone else to
deceive you into giving away vital information,
and they usually lie about what the information
is going to be used for, too.
E.g. someone might pretend to be a bank
manager and ask for your bank details because
they say their database info got corrupted, but
the real reason they need the info is to use your
account to commit financial fraud.
Identity Theft Over Time
Identity theft has been around for a very long
time – but the introduction of new
technologies has changed how and why
identities are stolen. The internet has played
a major role in identity theft.
With the invention of internet banking, it is
potentially very easy for your identity or
money to be stolen.
How to Prevent Your Identity
From Being Stolen
Use your common sense – if you get an email
from someone in Nigeria, asking for money or
your personal ID, ignore it.
Banks will never ask for your passwords or
information by email, they will always do it in
person. If you get mail asking for this sort of
thing, it will be from a scammer.
When keying in a PIN at an ATM, or other
important information like bank details over the
phone, make sure no-one is staring or listening
over your shoulder.
Protecting Your Identity
Use strong passwords – not 1234 or anything
obvious. Random combinations of letters or
numbers are best.
The three D’s –
Be careful about the information you post online.
Be computer safe – have good security to
prevent having the information stored on your
computer being compromised.
Famous identity thief
An example of a famous identity thief is Frank
Abagnale – a skilled impersonator, check forger,
confidence trickster and escape artist.
Starting from age 16, he assumed 8 different
identities, successfully impersonating an airline
pilot, a doctor, a Bureau of Prisons agent and a
lawyer, all before he was 21 years old.
He became notorious in the 1960s for
successfully passing US$2.5 million worth of
forged cheques across 26 different countries, all
in the course of 5 years.
His life story provided inspiration for the movie
“Catch me if you can”
Identity theft is a serious crime, and with a
serious crime comes a serious punishment.
You can get fined, and also jailed, depending on
the severity of your theft.
For example, in 2010 an Illinois man from the
USA received a sentence of more than 16 years
in prision for playing a major role in an identity
theft case that caused more than $15 million
USD in losses to more than 10 financial
institutions. He was ordered to pay out $1.4
However, usually it is very difficult to find the
perpetrators, so prosecuting the criminals is
often a problem.
Famous case of Identity
Theft in NZ
David Garrett used the identity of a dead
baby to obtain a fake passport.
In 1984, when he was 26, he went to a
cemetery and copied the details of a dead 2
year old boy to obtain a fake passport.
He has now resigned from parliament.
Identity Theft Statistics in
Of card users, 2.3% said that since January 1st
2005 someone had used a bank number, credit
card number or other credit number, without
permission, to steal from them.
Overall, 2.8% said that they had been a victim of
one of the identity theft forms they had been
asked about – similar to the American statistic of
3%. 2.8% equates to about 93,000 New
Zealanders 15 years or older living in private
The elderly are least at risk and the unemployed
are most at risk.
Identity theft is when people steal your
identity and use it to commit fraud
Identities are stolen for different purposes
but mainly to commit financial fraud
There are many different types ways to steal
There are ways to prevent your identity from
The internet plays a big part in identity theft
"Identity Theft." Current Issues: Macmillian Social Science Library. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In
Context. Web. 6 Dec. 2010.
(2010, September 24). Identity theft MP quits. Age, The (Melbourne), p. 13. Retrieved from Australia/New Zealand
Reference Centre database.
The New Face of Crime
By Kevin J. Delaney 7/12/2010
Retrieved from the World Book Online
We learnt about a major crime that happens to
many people, sometimes without the victim
even realizing. We also learnt useful things about
how to protect against it.
There was plenty of information readily
available so this inquiry was relatively easy.
Making the PowerPoint was also pretty easy.
Positives: It was easy, it was simple, there was
lots of information.
Negatives: Making a PowerPoint was kind of
boring, could have made and presented it in a
more interesting way.