The 21st century has seen a boom in crime, and identity theft is one such crime that is fast gaining popularity. it takes place when criminals obtain personal information of individuals and use it to impersonate the innocent victims. This also applies to impersonate the victim’s credit accounts and taking over their existing accounts, as well as their run up debts. The fraudsters are usually able to gain access to an individual’s information such as a previous or current address, date of birth, and original names. The criminals then use the information to commit different acts of identity theft (Anderson & Durbin & Salinger, 2008). This study will focus on young and single individuals who are highly susceptible to endure this crime. Furthermore, it will come up with a suitable strategy that will help protect vulnerable groups from identity theft.
There is a need to research about identity theft because it affects many people who lose their hard-earned money to fraudsters. People need to be aware that it is easy to endure identity theft. Criminals will always be interested in stealing from people, and now their focus is on extremely wealthy individuals. The lifestyle of rich people makes them quite vulnerable as their personal information is often known. Today, identity thieves are targeting even young singles because they are quite easy to manipulate. Therefore, identity theft is a serious problem that needs to be stopped before it gets out of control.
Relevance and Significance
People living in large cities such as New York or even London are likely to become victims of identity theft. These people have become vulnerable groups that are twice more likely to be targeted than ordinary people. Single people, who are also young, are the latest victims of identity theft, especially those living in flats and working in the service industry. These people tend to rent apartments in various housing councils or associations (Angwin, 2009). The highflying graduates live in good areas, which make them prime candidates to any form of identity theft. Other vulnerable groups such as professionals, high-earners, and wealthy people closely follow behind this group. This is based on evidence obtained from a hit list found in the possession of criminals. The reason for this occurrence is quite simple and for a unique reason.
It is vital to know that people who live in rented accommodations tend to share hallways. This then makes is quite easy for the criminals to intercept their mail. The young and single have high rates of moving as compared to settled and wealthy groups. This means that the young and single individuals do not redirect their mail at the appropriate time when moving. It is therefore easy for wrong people to pick it up and use it for their own benefit. It has been found out that having information about a victim’s latest address is the most common form of identity theft. This accounted for almost 38 percent of all cases involving identity theft. Second in the list is using the previous address of the victim, which is at 30 percent. Lastly, the use of forwarded posts is another way through which criminals obtain an individual’s information, and it is at 29 percent (Giles, 2010).
People need to protect themselves against identity theft by making their information secure at all times. Individuals need to be on the lookout for catalogues, credit cards, and bank statements with their information. The post office needs to come up with an effective system that ensures that when mail does not reach the receiver, it goes back to the sender. Fortunately, people are becoming quite informed about identity theft. This is practical because as much as two thirds of these victims are able to discover by themselves that they are victims of crime. They were able to notice fraudulent activities upon checking their credit card reports, or any other accounts registered using their names (Archer, 2012).
Identity theft is a known specific offense and in the United States, it is under some state laws, as well as the federal law. It is a criminal offense, which is specific and can occur at any time. Therefore, it is described as “knowingly transfers, possesses, uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or in connection with, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law” (Anderson & Durbin & Salinger, 2008). However, in the United Kingdom, it was not a specific offense until the year 2007 after the enactment of the UK Fraud Act 2006. This means that people found guilty of committing the crime of identity theft will face severe and harsh punishments.
It is quite vital to study about identity theft because it is a crime that affects many people all over the world. In this case, it will be possible to find out how to avoid being a victim and help incarcerate many of the identity thieves who often continue with their crimes without ever being caught. Indeed, identity theft has to be stopped and through research, this will be possible.
Anderson, Keith. & Durbin, Erick. & Salinger, Michael. (2008). Identity Theft. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 22, 2, 171-192.
Angwin, Julia. (2009). The Fallacy of Identity Theft. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB125537784669480983
Archer, Norman. (2012). Consumer Identity Theft Preventions and Identity Fraud Detection Behaviors. Journal of Financial Crime, 19, 1, 20 – 36.
Giles, Jim. (2010). “Cyber Crime Made Easy.” New Scientist.
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