Identity Theft

Topics: Identity theft, Theft, Personally identifiable information Pages: 6 (1277 words) Published: December 12, 2014


“Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.” (The United States Department of Justce)In today’s world where people are very dependent on internet and technology, identity theft has become a major issue for both consumers and business. Internet became a convenient, easy, and quick solution to everything starting from education, work, accessing medical records, paying bills, to shopping to fulfill daily task while coping up with the busy life. People are entering personal information such as names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, and even bank information on a daily basis on different websites thinking that particular site is trustworthy and secure. However, no matter how secure and safe the site claims to be, there can be a glitch to the system anytime and the site can be hacked by different programs created and used by hackers which they use to successfully steal and use valuable personal information of other people towards excessive expenses. Identity theft is a process online hackers developing programs to breach the cyber security of different organizations’ websites to usually obtain personal data for example bank account information, drivers’ license number, social security to obtain large amount of money from consumers. Victims of identity theft can be in a vulnerable situation and can lose their house and job, face financial penalties, and can get punished for the crime they have never committed. As of September 2014, according to Identity Theft Recourse Center, about 76 million personal records were exposed through online security breaches in areas including medical, government, education, and other businesses.1 Ethically, Identity theft is a federal crime. Identity theft can be many types such as credit card theft, driver’s license fraud, mail fraud, identity fraud etc. In United States, you can get punished for involvement in any forms of identity theft. In 1998 the congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. “This legislation created a new offense of identity theft, which prohibits "knowingly transfer[ring] or us[ing], without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law."(The United States Department of Justce) Different states have different laws that protect the victims of the theft and punish the criminal depending on the type of theft. In the state of Maryland, identity theft charges includes up to ten years of jail, or up to ten thousand dollars of fine, or a combination of both jail and fine. 2Charges may vary from state to state and may include fifteen years of jail. The ethics behind this punishment is to protect the victims and prevent future crime. According to the law in the United States, “This offense, in most circumstances, carries a maximum term of 15 years' imprisonment, a fine, and criminal forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the offense.” (The United States Department of Justce) Prevention is better than cure. Preventing identity theft is very important and both consumers and organizations can take several steps to protect personal information and prevent the crime. Organizations have to take steps to prevent data breaches by training their employees about data usability and protection. Before any business or organization asks for personal information from the consumers, they must ask themselves, how much information they actually need to ask and what steps can be taken to secure that information. In addition, companies and organizations can regularly train their IT staff to cope of with new technologies. To protect...
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