Friday, July 20, 2012

An innocent person can be arrested and made liable for a crime that he did not commit. That’s what happens when his identity is stolen by sophisticated thieves. Identity theft or more appropriate terms such as identity fraud or impersonation refer to the act of wrongfully obtaining another person’s personal data (credit card account #, bank account #, passwords, usernames, birth dates, etc.) through fraud or deception and pretending to be that person or assuming his identity in order to access his financial, credit and other resources or benefits. Aside from financial identity fraud, a person’s identity may be stolen in order to commit another offense (i.e. drug trafficking, human smuggling, money laundering, cybercrime, etc.), enter a country, get licenses or permits, conceal one’s real identity or even  commit terrorist acts. The biggest problem with identity theft is that the crime committed by the thief is attributed to his victim. In one infamous case in the United States, the thief incurred more than $100,000 of credit card debt, obtained loans and bought houses, motorcycles and handguns, and even filed a petition for bankruptcy all in the victim’s name. The poor victim spent several years and several thousand dollars just to restore his credit and reputation. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Multiply and Tumblr have been known as sources of numerous identity theft problems.   

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