Identity Theft Literature Review   [open pdf - 2MB]

"This review draws on available scientific studies and a variety of other sources to assess what we know about identity theft and what might be done to further the research base of identity theft. Until the federal Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998, there was no accepted definition of identity theft. This statute defined identity theft very broadly and made it much easier for prosecutors to conduct their cases. However, it was of little help to researchers, because a closer examination of the problem revealed that identity theft was composed of a number of disparate kinds of crimes committed in widely varying venues and circumstances. The majority of States have now passed identity theft legislation, and the generic crime of identity theft has become a major issue of concernThe Internet has played a major role in disseminating information about identity theft, both in terms of risks and information on how individuals may avoid victimization. It has also been identified as a major contributor to identity theft because of the environment of anonymity and the opportunities it provides offenders or would-be offenders to obtain basic components of other persons identities. The biggest impediment to conducting scientific research on identity theft and interpreting its findings has been the difficulty in precisely defining it. This is because a considerable number of different crimes may often include the use or abuse of anothers identity or identity related factors. Such crimes may include check fraud, plastic card fraud, immigration fraud, counterfeiting, forgery, terrorism using false or stolen identities, theft of various kinds (pick pocketing, robbery, burglary or mugging to obtain the victims personal information), postal fraud, and many others."

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National Criminal Justice Reference Service: http://www.ncjrs.org/
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