Identity Theft

Identity theft is the new crime in the 21st century. Before thieves used to steal your wallet, take the money, and throw the wallet in the trash. Nowadays, if they were to steal your wallet, they would use the credit cards to charge frivolous items. They wouldn't just stop there. They would take your personal information and apply for more credit cards, loans, or even mortgages. Your personal information consists of your name, address, social security number, date of birth, phone numbers, bank account number, employer name, and employer address. However, stealing your wallet isn't the only source to getting your personal information. There are numerous ways to gain access to your personal information.

  1. Diving into trashcans or dumpsters. The junk mail that you receive and throw away contain your personal information.
  2. Stealing from your mailbox. Your mailbox contains bank statements, credit card bills, or notices with your data.
  3. Stealing the computer. The computers in your bank, doctor's office, dentist's office, or school contain valuable information.
  4. Hacking into a computer database. This tactic will affect numerous people.
  5. Copying from the sales receipts when you're buying or dining. The sales receipts will not only include your name but sometimes your signature.
Types of Identity Theft
  1. Financial fraud consists of credit card, bank, computer, and mail fraud. There are 25 types of financial frauds.
  2. Criminal fraud consists of money laundering, alien smuggling, organized crime, drug trafficking, and computer/cyber crimes.

In 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act that declared identity theft a federal crime. If found guilty, this offense carries a maximum of 15 years imprisonment, a fine, and criminal forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the crime. Also, there are other violations that could be added to the rap sheet such as identification fraud, credit card fraud, or mail fraud. These are felonies and they carry up to 30 years imprisonment, fines and criminal forfeiture.


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