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Law enforcement officials have stated that identity theft crime has been one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. Identity theft is also one of the fastest growing white color crimes. This is a serious crime. Identity theft is the act of knowingly transferring or using without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state law. If the offender is found guilty, then the person committing the act could get a fine, property forfeiture, or at maximum of 15 years in prison. How common is identity theft?
It is the top consumer fraud complaint. There are an estimated 500 - 750 thousand victims per year. Different types of fraud that are included in the identity theft crime are identification fraud; credit card fraud; computer fraud; mail fraud; wire fraud; and financial institution fraud. One of the ways this crime can occur is by social security number, they assume an identity, make fraudulent credit charges, get loans, open bank accounts, write bad checks on your account, and commit crimes in a person's name. Some of the ways thieves get some data is by wallet (you may have left behind), mailbox, or garbage; from insecure financial transactions completed over the Internet; from information left on machines in public; wireless technology such as cell phones; beepers; etc. , and some will go so far as going through people's trash. Some of the consequences for victims include fraudulent credit charges, fake vehicle purchases, and home loans.
The average victim has around $ 18 thousand dollars stolen. Some negative consequences a victim may face is he can't receive credit, and his mortgage rates get higher. According to the Federal Trade Commission, identity theft was involved in more than 40 percent of the consumer complaints it received last year. This was double the amount from the previous year of 2000. Social security fraud has gone up over the past four years more than 500 percent.
This is an astounding number too consider and critics have complained that perpetrators are still treated with more leniency than your common white-collar criminal. Also hard to consider is the fact that one third of those who have been convicted of the crime in 2001 have not even been sent to prison. The most common forms of this crime is credit card fraud- more than half of all victims stated that a credit card account or an existing account was being used without authorization; bank fraud; communications services- a quarter of all victims said that a thief used the victim's name to open a service contract, with a utility service such as a phone company; and fraudulently purchased homes. Credit card fraud accounted for 54 percent of all identity theft crime; communications services accounted for 26 percent; bank fraud accounted for 9 percent; and fraudulent loans accounted for 11 percent according to statistics from the FDC.
According to CNN, Washington, D. C. reported 767, 000 thefts in 2001. Other states that were among the topped crime reports were California with 446, 000; Nevada had 405, 000; and Maryland and New York both had 373, 000 reported crimes. Between 1997 and 2003, the losses to U.
S. financial institutions due to identity theft increased from 2 million dollars to 9 million dollars. According to an identity theft agency website at web throughout the history of the crime, federal agencies and government officials have made an effort to address the problem of identity theft. In October of 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 to address the problem.
If anyone violates this act, they will be investigated by federal agencies such as the U. S. Secret Service, FBI, and the U. S.
Postal Inspection Service and, if possible, prosecuted by the U. S. Department of Justice. There are many other laws that have to do with credit card fraud. The Fair Credit Reporting Act establishes procedures for correcting mistakes on your credit record and requires that your record only be provided for legitimate business needs. The Fair Credit Billing Act establishes procedures for resolving billing errors on your credit card accounts.
It also limits a consumer's liability for fraudulent credit card charges. The Electronic Fund Transfer Act provides consumer protection for all transactions using a debit card or electronic means to debit or credit accounts. It also limits a consumer's liability for unauthorized electronic fund transfers. In the past, law enforcement agencies did not take identity theft as a serious crime. According to an interview with U.
S. Senator Dianne Feinstein from MSNBC, while many states have passed stronger laws to go after identity fraud, officials in Washington have been slower to take action. When the senate goes back into the office in early 2003, they plan to bring in a plan of legislation that would strengthen laws that surround that crime of identity theft. The proposed laws would increase the penalty for offenders of identity theft. They would also pass a law that would make possession of another person's identity information a crime if there were intent of committing a felony. The U.
S. State Attorney General's office also has formed a team of attorneys and investigators to focus on Internet related crimes. It is also developing a "first in the nation" mediation program where consumers and businesses can attempt to resolve crime on-line. State, federal, and local law enforcement officials have now begun to fight crime and fraud on the Internet. Right now, the ideas is to lengthen the ability to fight, protect the public from, and quickly prosecute online crime.
Missouri state Attorney General Christine Gregoire stated that her office would partner with Washington University to begin a new web site, to help people stay away from online fraud and crimes. This site will enable consumers to take their names off of marketing lists, make a complaint on-line, and research current consumer and crime issues. Attorney General Gregoire also stated "Washington is the national leader in high technology. It is only natural that our state be similarly innovative in crime fighting and resolving consumer issues. " There have been many Supreme Court cases dealing with identity theft.
One example of an identity theft case was the H and R Block company identity fraud scam (yahoo. com news). A former office manager at the tax-help company used customer name...
Free research essays on topics related to: credit card fraud, identity theft, law enforcement officials, fastest growing, federal agencies
Research essay sample on Credit Card Fraud Law Enforcement Officials
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Everyone loves shopping online, you save time, not exactly money, but who cares when its holiday time, at least you won’t need to fight for a parking spot in the hectic malls. Growing up in America’s technological day and age, almost everyone has a computer or at least knows how to operate one. People like the easy way out, and it has its benefits. Year by year, things seem to get easier and easier. Therefore, people are getting lazier. Well, I say, goodbye “laziness”, and hello “being aware of where you place those important documents”.
There’s very little you can do to prevent it, and you won’t know it’s happened to you until it’s too late. Identity theft is currently the fastest growing type of robbery in the United States. When a person steals someone’s identification documents without them knowing, and uses their information, the crime is called “Identity Theft”. “About one in five victims knows the identity thief as a relative, roommate, neighbor, or coworker, according to the FTC ID Theft Data Clearinghouse report, says reporter Isham Jones for Realtor Magazine Online.
There are two main types of identity fraud that enables people to steal your identity. They are financial fraud, being the most widespread including credit card, bank, telecommunications, tax refund, and several other types of scams. Criminal activity is the other type fraud that involves taking someone’s identity and using it to commit heinous crimes. “Identity theft accounted for 42 percent of the thousands of consumer complaints reported to the FTC in 2001. The FTC processes these complaints through Consumer Sentinel, an electronic clearinghouse available to investigative groups such as the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service as well as to similar groups in other countries”, reports Waterline reporter Carole W. Butler.
There are many laws that lash out against identity theft and help protect you against it, but it doesn’t seem like its scaring any of the criminals. ID theft is still the number one crime in America!!!
Identity theft can happen to anyone, and to avoid being put in a situation like this one you have to review your Credit report at least once a year. Purchase a shredder to shred all documents with personal information before throwing them away. Be responsible over every bank statement, and keep them under close watch. Don’t send mail using your unsecured mailbox. Have your social security number changed if it is the same as your driver’s license number.
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Identity Theft Easy Way Way Out Too Late Secret Service Criminal Activity Other Countries Complaints
Do not pre print your Social Security Number on your checks. You never supposed to carry your Social Security Card in your wallet or purse. Last but not least, keep the items that contain your personal information in a confined place. In most Identity-theft cases, the victim often has to prove his or her innocence. “Most new identity-theft victims expect the police, the credit grantors, the credit-reporting agencies and others in high places to help them”, says past identity theft victim Mari J. Frank. Maybe it should be that way … but it just isn’t.
Butler, Carole W. “ ‘ Identity Theft: anyone can become a victim’: The Waterline: DC Military.” 19 Nov. 2004