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  • 8/15/2010

Identity Theft   

identity theft

Identity theft is a term used to refer to fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else.

The term is relatively new and is actually a misnomer, since it is not inherently possible to steal an identity, only to use it. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. In many countries specific laws make it a crime to use another person's identity for personal gain.

 

Types

According to the non-profit Identity Theft Resource Center, identity theft is sub-divided into four categories:

financial identity theft (using another's identity to obtain goods and services)

criminal identity theft (posing as another when apprehended for a crime)

identity cloning (using another's information to assume his or her identity in daily life)

business/commercial identity theft (using another's business name to obtain credit)

Identity theft may be used to facilitate crimes including illegal immigration, terrorism, and espionage. Identity theft may also be a means of blackmail. There are also cases of identity cloning to attack payment systems, including medical insurance.

Some individuals may impersonate others for non-financial reasons - for instance, to receive praise or attention for the victim's achievements. This is sometimes referred to as identity theft in the media.

Source: encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com


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