Identity Theft


Identity theft is one of the most widely used crimes which involve the use of personal data by other individuals. This essay tells about identity theft background and gives the definition of this term. It highlights the ways of how the personal information can be stolen by criminals. It indicates main types of identity theft and explains the consequences of this type of crime for victims. It also demonstrates the facts that back up the main points of the paper.

Identity Theft

The development of the electronic and computer technology gave the push to the appearance of a new type of crime such as identity theft. In the second half of the 20th century, the identity theft began to spread in the United States. It was based upon the widespread introduction of services that were provided remotely, without the personal presence. In particular, it was accompanied with the general introduction of credit cards among population. This type of crime is also associated with the prevalence of Social Security number as the identifier of the individual. Nowadays, the number of people who use the identity of the other person increased because of the spread of electronic devices and total use of the Internet.

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What is identity theft?

Identity theft is a crime for which the personal data are used illegally for material gain. The information from the Social Security number, credit card number, bank account, telephone calling card number and other types of personal data can be used by other people for stealing money. In some cases, it is only necessary to know the victim’s name in order to commit the identity theft. Victims of the identity theft may lose not only the financial costs, but also struggle with the attempt to restore their reputation as a result of using their personal data by criminals. Criminals can apply the stolen personal information in order to fill in the false application for loans or credit cards or fulfill the fraudulent withdrawals from bank accounts.

Common ways to commit the identity theft

In order to commit the identity theft, it is not necessary for criminals to break into someone’s house. There are much easier and secure ways to obtain the costs with the help of personal data. The simple way is to observe the victim when he or she punches the credit card number or pronounces it over the phone. Some criminals may use garbage where they can find copies of the checks, bank statements or other documents that have the victim’s private information. One of the ways to get the personal information is the Internet space where people with high-tech skills can get passwords to hack email in order to steal individual information. At the global level, criminals can get access to the corporate databases in order to steal the customer information and apply it for winning in the business competition.

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Types of the identity theft

There are several types of the identity theft that could be identified as criminal, financial, medical, child identity theft and identity cloning. Criminal identity theft occurs when a person, who just was arrested, presents to police the fake ID or other stolen documents that identify him or her as another person. Subsequently, it could be difficult for the victims to clean the criminal record as a result of violation of their rights. Financial identity theft is the most common form of identity theft that is used in order to obtain, goods, services or credit. Usually, along with a wallet people stole credit cards and use them in order to obtain cash. At the large perspective, people steal the private financial information with the help of computer programs and conduct transactions with a victim’s money. Medical identity theft usually occurs when a theft wants to obtain prescription drugs or see a doctor while using the victim name or health insurance numbers. Very often, the payment records and credit report of the victim are affected after the mix of the victim and thief’s health information. Medical identity theft is one of the most dangerous forms of identity theft as it could be resulted into incorrect medical treatment of the victim in the future. A child identity theft occurs when a thief the Social Security number in order to apply for government benefits or other needs. Identity cloning is a type of identity theft when criminal pretends to be a different person. Instead of stealing private information, they actually can commit crimes in someone’s name.

Ways of protection

There are many ways of protection that banks and government use in order to escape the identity theft among the general population. However, people should guard their personal information on their own. Many people prefer to buy goods over online shopping. Thus, it is important to clear logins and passwords while using a public computer. It is better to pay from credit cards which have guarantees under federal law. It is important to be careful while entering personal data on different Web sites. People should monitor their credit reports, bank and credit card statements. For companies and large corporations, it is necessary to shred all sensitive documents that can provide the criminal with financial and private information.

Identity theft facts

Identity theft is a growing problem in the world electronic community. It is the fastest growing crime in the United States (Reed, 2). The Department of Justice in the U.S. indicated that that 8.6 million Americans suffered from identity in 2010. It is 2.2 million more than in 2005. A total financial loss was estimated as 13.3 billion dollars. (Tugent, 4). On average, it is necessary to spend approximately 33 hours and 500 dollars for victim in order to resolve the identity theft crime. About 19 people become the victims of the identity theft each minute. One of the main problems is that it is difficult to detect the criminals and arrest them. Only 1in 700 identity crimes end up with the arrest (Reed, 5).


Identity theft could be one of the main criminal issues in the future. The growing number of cases only proves this tendency. It is difficult for the authority to detect criminals who are going to commit the identity theft. That is why people should always be careful with their personal information.


Reed, B., (2012). “5 frightening facts about identity theft”. Retrieved from site

Tugent, A. (2012). “Preventing identity theft without paying monthly fees”. Retrieved from website

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