E-Commerce Identity Theft
The wrongful adoption of another person’s personal information such as full names, credit cards and identity documents is referred to as identity theft. This act is often perpetrated with the objective of committing both petty and serious crimes using an identity different from one’s own. Identity theft is mostly perpetrated by individuals who are close to the victim such as family members, friends, and colleagues. Most of the crimes are however committed by family members, which make it possible to track down the perpetrators and thus recover the financial losses incurred. Apart from family members are also cited to be possible perpetrators of identity theft, mainly with the objectives of attaining financial gains. In most cases, financial gains are achieved through identity theft involving acquisition of the victim’s credit cards (Fisher, 2009).
Various modes of identity theft are available. The procedure involves generally collecting the victim’s personal information and using the information for the intended purpose with or without modification. In petty theft cases, identity theft is conducted through the use of credit cards, driver’s license and other documents obtained after stealing the victim’s personal properties. This is easier to discover as well as to recover the lost items. On the other hand, high caliber identity theft extends to aspects such as social security and is very difficult to discover due to the advanced technologies involved. The stages can thus be summarized as document acquisition, crime perpetration and discovery. The key types of identity theft include E-commerce identity theft, document theft and fraud, friendly fraud, classic identity theft, employment fraud and organized identity theft. Each of these types of identity theft is perpetrated in different ways, by different people and with different objectives.
The duration of time taken by an individual prior to reporting identity theft is correlated with the amount of losses incurred by the individual. Moreover, since identity theft is connected to several other crimes, failing to report identity theft can result in immense losses to other sectors. On reporting, the suspected criminal is arrested and arraigned in court. Due to the persistence of the problem, the Identity Theft Resource Center has come up with procedures through which the perpetrators can be brought to book (Gordon et al., 2010).
In some cases depending on the type of identity theft experienced, the victims may be forced to report to other authorities besides the police. Advances in technology have been blamed for the increase in identity theft cases across the world. For instance, it is reported that Passwords and PINs that are meant to protect individuals are no longer safe since technological advancements allow the perpetrators to hack them with easy (Ahuja, 1997).
Despite arguments that the authorities are trying to curb the menace, research shows that very little effort has been made to this end. For instance, some organizations still produce identity documents and credit cards that have special weaknesses. These organizations should find ways of making their operations safer. In addition to this, systems across the world should be able to come up with innovative programs that help prevent identity theft. The prevention of identity theft is still a difficult aspect due to the ease of access of information from officials who have no idea who the perpetrators are; advanced technology which allows the production of identity documents whose qualities are similar to those of original documents.
In E-commerce, everyone should be careful of people standing close to them during transactions (Boularad, 2004). Apart from this, reporting to the right authorities should also be a priority once one is a victim. In conclusion, economic losses to individuals and societies at large should be sufficient reason for the prevention of identity theft. However, prevention can only occur if there is high regard for personal information.
Ahuja, V. (1997). Secure commerce on the Internet. NY: Academic Press.
Boularad, G. (2004). Foiling I.D thieves, State Legislatures, 30(9): 12-19
Fisher, D. (2009). Groups Fighting Online ID Theft, Criminal Justice Journal, 2(11): 23-54
Gordon, G., Willox, J., Rebovich, M., & Regan, T. (2010). Identity Fraud: a critical national and global threat, Journal of Economics and Crime Management, 2(1): 1-48
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