Identity theft is America’s fastest growing crime; The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is the lead agency in investigating incidents of identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission FTC estimates that as many as 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. In fact, you or someone you know may have experienced some form of identity theft. The crime takes many forms.
Identity theft is a criminal offense. It occurs when a person knowingly transfers or uses, 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.
What is identity theft?
Identity theft occurs when a crook steals key pieces of personal identifying information, which may include a name, address, and date of birth, Social Security number, and mother’s maiden name, to gain access to a person’s financial accounts. Armed with this information, an identity thief may open new credit or financial accounts, buy cars, apply for loans or Social Security benefits, rent an apartment, or set up utility and phone service — in someone else’s name
History of identity theft
The history of identity theft did not begin with on the Internet. Identity theft was indeed here long before the Internet began, but was much less common. Nowadays, identity theft is more Internet-related, but that wasn’t always the case.
Back in the Beginning
Back in the days before identity theft was actually a violent crime. Back at the beginning of the history of identity theft, if you wanted to steal someone’s identity, you had to kill them for it. Then you’d just assume their identity and walk around as if you were that person. Nowadays, identity theft is much less dangerous.
Identity Theft via the Phone
Some of the first cases of collar identity theft in the history of identity theft occurred via the phone. Identity theft thieves would contact victims claiming to offer them credit or prizes or some other incentive. They would just need some personal information to verify their identity, and would then use that information to steal the victim’s identity, the victim would never see the credit card, loan or prize but they would see their credit ruined and their good name scarred forever.
At the same time that the history of identity theft was growing via phone, identity theft thieves were performing a task called dumpster diving. Dumpster diving involves digging through the trash for credit card statements and/or bank statements and using the information found there to steal someone’s identity. Dumpster diving still occurs even to this very day.
Then came the widespread use of the Internet, and the history of identity theft became high-tech. No longer did identity theft thieves have to resort to phone calls or dumpster diving, they could gather the information they needed by phishing online. By using the Internet as their preying grounds, identity theft thieves have increased their crime rates and the number of their victims, so while the history of identity theft isn’t a pretty one, it does give us the knowledge we need to prevent ourselves from becoming victims of the increasingly common crime.
What to do if you’re Identity is stolen?
Identity theft can be one of the most devastating crimes to fall victim of. Depending on the type of identity theft committed, victims can incur massive debt, bad credit, and even criminal records. Although everyone should be taking steps to prevent this crime from happening to them, it's still possible to fall victim. So if you detect signs of your identity being stolen, what's the next step?
Close Your Accounts
Contact all companies with whom you have accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently. This includes credit card companies, utilities companies, telephone companies, insurance companies, and banks, etc. In addition to canceling tampered with and fraudulent accounts, you may also need to place stop-payment orders on checks, change PIN numbers and passwords, or obtain new convenience card or ATM card numbers.
File a police report with your local police or the police in the area where the identity theft occurred. Get a copy of the police report to give to creditors, banks, etc., - any company that you have a corrupted account with, when you file your police report, provide as much documentation as you can. This may include copies of debt collection letters, your notarized Identity Theft Affidavit, and other evidence of fraudulent activity. Never ever give out originals of these documents, but make sure to make copies.
Make sure to keep yourself organized by filling out checklists and work sheets to document your progress. Keep track of everyone you contact, when, and what transpired. Keep all this information in one place. That way it will be easier to refer back to later.
Identity theft (Methods):
Dumpster Diving: known as skipping in the UKThey rummage through trash looking for bills or other paper with your personal information on it.
Skimming: They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.
Phishing: They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information. Phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one.
Identity theft and ethics
Identity theft in all of it’s kind consider unethical and law against, it’s threat people privacy when some one sneak around to steal some information even if it was in the trash that does not mean he can take theme and use theme simply because that information don’t belong to himself it belong to another persons, identity theft working as a Pretextures the claim to be some one else they are not to get people information, sensitive data and money, they using so many unethical ways to fraud people to get what they desirer.
The law have serous penalty for whom doing this actions.
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