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Identity Theft Essay

2261 words - 10 pages

Law enforcement officials have stated that identity theft crime has been one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Identity theft is also one of the fastest growing white color crimes. This is a serious crime. Identity theft is the act of knowingly transferring or using 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 law. If the offender is found guilty, then the person committing the act could get a fine, property forfeiture, or at maximum of 15 years in prison.
How common is identity ...view middle of the document...

This was double the amount from the previous year of 2000. Social security fraud has gone up over the past four years more than 500 percent. This is an astounding number too consider and critics have complained that perpetrators are still treated with more leniency than your common white-collar criminal. Also hard to consider is the fact that one third of those who have been convicted of the crime in 2001 have not even been sent to prison. The most common forms of this crime is credit card fraud- more than half of all victims stated that a credit card account or an existing account was being used without authorization; bank fraud; communications services- a quarter of all victims said that a thief used the victim’s name to open a service contract, with a utility service such as a phone company; and fraudulently purchased homes. Credit card fraud accounted for 54 percent of all identity theft crime; communications services accounted for 26 percent; bank fraud accounted for 9 percent; and fraudulent loans accounted for 11 percent according to statistics from the FDC. According to CNN, Washington, D.C. reported 767,000 thefts in 2001. Other states that were among the topped crime reports were California with 446,000; Nevada had 405,000; and Maryland and New York both had 373,000 reported crimes. Between 1997 and 2003, the losses to U.S. financial institutions due to identity theft increased from 2 million dollars to 9 million dollars.
According to an identity theft agency website at http://www.consumer.gov/idtheft, throughout the history of the crime, federal agencies and government officials have made an effort to address the problem of identity theft. In October of 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 to address the problem. If anyone violates this act, they will be investigated by federal agencies such as the U.S. Secret Service, FBI, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and, if possible, prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.
There are many other laws that have to do with credit card fraud. The Fair Credit Reporting Act establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on your credit record and requires that your record only be provided for legitimate business needs. The Fair Credit Billing Act establishes procedures for resolving billing errors on your credit card accounts. It also limits a consumer’s liability for fraudulent credit card charges. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act provides consumer protection for all transactions using a debit card or electronic means to debit or credit accounts. It also limits a consumer’s liability for unauthorized electronic fund transfers. In the past, law enforcement agencies did not take identity theft as a serious crime. According to an interview with U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein from MSNBC, while many states have passed stronger laws to go after identity fraud, officials in Washington have been slower to take action. When the senate...

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