For my research paper, I decided to write about identity theft. The reason for my choice is that identity theft has become prevalent because online activities have increased. An increasing number of criminals are using identity theft to commit crimes whose magnitude is overwhelming at times and has dire consequences. The paper gives a clear definition of identity theft, before highlighting the prevalence of this crime and how it can be prevented.
Definition of identity theft
According to the National Criminal justice and reference services, identity theft is a term used in reference to crimes where individuals wrongfully obtain and use other people’s data to commit fraud and deception. In most cases, people who commit identity theft obtain funds from the victim’s banks by using the victim’s identity. The criminals usually obtain information from the victim’s workplace, dumpsters, and trashcans, stealing and wooing the victim into a job offer.
Prevalence of identity theft
The National Institute of justice contends that nine million or more incidents of identity theft happen every year (NCJRS, 2015). The most unfortunate thing is the fact that many people are not aware of the complexities and the many issues involved in this crime. The criminal actions are mostly perpetrated by people who know the victim well or by international criminals. Identity theft usually goes through three stages; they include acquisition, use, and discovery. Research evidence suggests that the longer it takes to discover the fraudulent actions, the greater the loss that is incurred (Newman & McNally, 2007). People who are older and those with less education are more prone to attacks since it takes more time for them to discover the identity theft and report after the discovery.
To come with ideal theft prevention strategies, it is important for financial and commercial agencies to collaborate (Commission, 2015). The experience that emanates from other spheres, for example, car safety, security, and environmental pollution can be linked together to assist in the development of strategies and programs for the government agencies. At the local level, there is a need for research to examine ways to develop prevention programs effectively in three main areas of vulnerability, namely; operating environments of the document authenticating agencies, structure and operations of information systems that present offenders with an opportunity to use identities, and the practice environments of agencies that issue documents (NCJRS, 2015).
In conclusion, prevention is the best way of dealing with identity theft. There is a need for more research to identify the role that the government plays in identity theft using task forces and partnerships. Since identity theft constitutes a whole range of crimes, it is important that they be separated to enable analysis from the point of view of the identity theft.
Commission, F. T. (2015). Recovering from identity theft is easier with a plan
NCJRS. (2015). Identity theft. Retrieved 9 13, 2015, from National Criminal Justice Reference Service:
Newman, G. R., & McNally, M. M. (2007). Identity Theft_A research review. National Institue of justice , 1-17.