Article

Identity Theft

Heith Copes and Anastasia Brown

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online May 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780195396607-0099
Identity Theft

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No precise definition of identity theft exists, but most agree that it occurs when someone misuses another individual’s personal information (e.g., name, Social Security number, financial account information, or driver’s license number) to commit fraud. Typically, the types of crimes that fall under the identity theft umbrella include new account fraud (where fraudsters create new bank and credit card accounts in the victims’ names), existing non-credit card account fraud (where the offenders take over existing financial accounts), and existing credit card account fraud (where fraudsters use the credit card numbers of their victims). While the media and lawmakers have focused much attention on identity theft in the past several years, academic research on the crime is limited. A lack of empirical data on identity theft makes it difficult to know the full extent of the problem and to determine profiles of victims and offenders. Based on the information that we do have, identity theft is a costly crime that affects millions of people worldwide. It appears that both victims and offenders come from all demographic groups. Additionally, the lack of a clear definition hinders attempts at controlling it. This bibliography reviews some of the definitional issues, Data Sources, research, theories, and prevention efforts centered on identity theft.

Article.  5395 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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