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Identity Theft (Body)

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Angel99joe
Words 2184
Pages 9
Two years ago, Bob had just bought a new house. After he and his family were settled in, they started cleaning up the place and throwing away “unneeded” documents. Three months later, when Bob was applying for a car loan, he found that his credit history had been destroyed. He was a victim of identity theft, a crime that often causes people debt, unjustified imprisonment, and murder, being one of the most dangerous, yet easiest, crimes to commit. Identity theft includes other types of fraud and identity related crimes. It is said that today’s society is now living in “The Age of Betrayal.” Since an incident with a busboy in Brooklyn, no one can be trusted anymore. After siphoning off hundreds of thousands of dollars into different accounts, this busboy still stayed a bus boy because he did not want to be caught stealing others’ identities caught. When webcams shot up in the worldwide community, “self-documenters” have broken up with there loved ones and other personal related extremes have happened to others (Vacca 12-13). A person’s privacy is almost non-existent. Information like phone numbers, home addresses, social security numbers, bank accounts, etc., are available to just about anyone who is interested in looking or taking them (Hyatt 2-3). There have been various ways of stealing a person’s identity throughout history. It is said that “Shoulder Surfing” was started in airports, train stations, and bus stations. Thieves record credit card numbers of victims who were using public phones. When an identity thief tries to steal some numbers or something personal that he needs, he does not need to be near the victim at all. These thieves can just be in a line of sight and be looking through a lens to try to memorize or write down an important piece of information. Although it is hard to know exactly when identity theft began the methods for assuming someone else’s identity are numerous. Stealing wallets and purses that contain identification, credit cards, and bank cards; stealing mail for pre-approved credit cards and tax information, (thieves can change where mail is sent from one place to the other) dumpster diving for personal data; posing as another person that would have a good reason to need personal information; establishing phone or wireless phones in someone else’s name; and taking car loans in other people’s names (Vacca 8-9) There are four main types of identity theft are financial identity theft, criminal identity theft, identity cloning, and business and commercial identity theft. Financial identity theft includes a financial identity thief commiting bank fraud under the name of someone else to avoid prosecution. By pretending to be someone else, an identity thief obtains a loan from a financial institution. To do this, the criminal just shows accurate information like names, address, birth date, or other necessary information. Other forms of financial identity theft involve “account takeovers,” passing bad checks, taking out a checking or credit card with a bad check, counterfeiting money orders, or emptying ATM deposits, (“Identity Theft” 1). When financial identity theft occurs, the victim must convince banks and other main officials that he/she was robbed; most of the time convincing will happen in court cases. Usually, a person will not find out that a thief has taken his/her identity until after the damage is done. It is often found out when someone tries to apply for a loan or buys a car. People that are victims of identity theft will take an average of about 600 hours trying to fix their credit history. Criminal Identity theft can be more dangerous than some other types of identity theft. A criminal can identify his or her self as another person or just might use a fake ID. This was something very wrong that can happen because when a criminal is arrested, authorities check the criminal’s ID and place charges under the victim’s name, then release the criminal. Because this is a major flaw in this area, the criminal will just skip the day a hearing is scheduled because it will be under the victim’s name. Having this name in the hands of police, they will still assume the victim as a criminal and issue a warrant for the victim’s arrest. It can be difficult for a criminal identity theft victim to clear their record. The steps required to clear the victim's incorrect criminal record depends on what jurisdiction the crime occurred in and whether the true identity of the criminal can be determined. (“Identity Theft” 1) Identity cloning may be the type of identity theft that no one wants to have. Identity cloning happens when a criminal aquires personal information about the victim and then impersenates the victim so that they are concealed from authorities. (“Identity Theft” 1) This often means that the criminal has to get rid of the victim, so the victim may be kidnapped and hidden, or the victim may just be killed. Which reminds me, there is a show on T.V. called “The Riches”, and in this show, identity cloning is almost exactly what they do. A family (The Malloy’s) is running from a life they don’t want to follow through with and end up in a car wreck with the “Riches” family. So, to pursue a better life, they steal the identities of the “Riches”. From this wreck they gained enough information from what they had to assume their new lives because the “Riches” were on their way to their recently purchased house. This meant that no one knew anything about them and made it that much easier for the Malloys to take their identities. Identity theft legislation must be complied by government employees in and out of the office. Privacy protection is one purpose of identity theft legislation with respect to personal information held by an organization. (Vacca 190) The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act amended the U.S. Code § 1028a; “Fraud related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features, and information.” Charges brought by state or local law has different penalties depending on the state. If by chance a case was taken to federal court there are two charges that may or may not apply to the accused or victim. A Class C felony will get a criminal two to eight years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. A Class B felony is much more severe than a class C felony, in a class B felony, a criminal can get six to twenty years in prison and fined in charges of up to $10,000. Preventing identity theft in the first place can be a complicated situation. There are so many ways to suspect or identify if you are being a victim of Identity Theft. Bills or statements are not arriving in the mail on time? Noticing unauthorized charges on credit card bill? Do you see new accounts or weird information on your credit report? Receiving bills for unknown purchases? Unable to set up banking accounts? Loans? Brokerage accounts? Do you see a downward pattern in benefits on your annual social security statement? Did the cops show up at your door? These are all different ways to identify that you have been robbed and there are many ways that you can stop this from happening. One of the best things for most people to start out with is invest a little bit of your money and buy a paper shredder. A paper shredder is one of the best ways to destroying disks, credit cards, unneeded personal documents and other financial documents. After getting a paper shredder, try to put the machine near an area where you often check your mail. This way when you just throw bills away, you can have them shredded before tossing them. This will reduce the risk of credit card fraud and other types of financial disasters that can happen because of thieves that Dumpster dive. If you can’t afford a paper shredder or you just don’t want to get one, you should consider tearing delicate paperwork into smaller pieces before trashing them. It is said that when choosing a paper shredder, you should find a cross paper shredder. Cross shredders are better than regular shredders because they shred the pieces of paper a lot more complex which would make it harder for thieves to put together. (Sileo 65) If you have had a loved one passes away recently, you should have a death notice alert sent out to the three credit bureaucracies. There is a huge system called the Death Master File. This file houses just about, or more than, 65 million dead people. Credit bureaus give monthly updates of the file. Even if they sent those updates, it still takes a few months to get a name added to the list. The system is imperfect enough that a person’s name may never make it to the list. This can cause some criminal to commit identity cloning. (Abagnale 130) It is said that people should start reading their privacy policies because there have been assumptions that the privacy policies are too hard to understand. And because of this, people and experts are starting to think that If it’s written so that you can’t understand it, then the person who wrote it doesn’t want you to understand it. If this is the case, then it is believed that some financial damage can be caused with just your privacy statement. (Abagnale 160) Lock your vital documents as if they are very important to you, which they should be. Basically secure your essentials, a fire safe is the best to use. It has been proven that family and friends are more likely to commit fraud that cost a lot more. (Sileo 72) Also, try to order and review your credit report annually. Anyone is entitled to 1 free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. The three main credit bureaus are Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, all three of these bureaus are required to investigate incorrect information. (Arata 42) Have you ever felt like someone was watching you while you typed in your password on the computer? Ever wonder if when you tell someone not to look at when you type your password, it feels like they do anyway? Well, I hate to break it to you but identity thieves use a technique called “shoulder-surfing” to eaves drop on people who are making a transaction or putting their pin number in a machine. Instead of being oblivious to whatever action someone is doing, he/she should look at his or her surroundings before saying a password out loud or typing it in a public area. (Arata 107) Besides passwords in public areas like ATM machines, people still have passwords online, where virtually everything is public. Hackers are people who try to “hack” into other people’s accounts. They try to get through these accounts so that they can have access to the goods that the account has at the time. The majority of people now have multiple accounts in different websites and a different password for each. Not only are they accounts online, they have passwords for cell phones and banking accounts too. When choosing a password, people should avoid using the final four digits of their social security number, mother’s maiden name, his/her very own name, birth dates, pet names, consecutive numbers, and the word “password”. Try to find a password that only you will know and remember and keep it the same for most of your accounts. It is said that it is less likely to be found out. (Abagnale 122) There is paperwork that should never be worn on a person because of pocket pickers and other thieves that can take these documents and use to commit fraud. Never carry your driver’s license if it displays your social security number. Some states in the U.S. require this, if a person has his/her Social security number on their driver’s license, apply for a new one without it displaying their SSN. No one should ever be holding onto their social security card, you should have this memorized. If someone has an insurance card, it’s a little more complicated. Usually insurance cards have a person’s social security number as their ID number on the card. Whoever has this problem should make a copy, blotch out the SSN and make another copy. If a doctor asks why you don’t have a card, tell him why you did what you did then tell him your social security number from memory. Some people often carry their birth certificates because they don’t have their passport. If someone has their birth certificate, urge them to get a passport, it carries less information than even your driver’s license. The most pointless document to hold in a wallet or purse is a voter registration card. This card is only used once a year, just keep it out of your wallet or purse, and even consider putting it in a fire safe.

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