Journal of
Law and Conflict Resolution

  • Abbreviation: J. Law Conflict. Resolut
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9804
  • DOI: 10.5897/JLCR
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 98

Review

An analysis of identity theft: Motives, related frauds, techniques and prevention

Ali Hedayati
Faculty of Management, Vancouver Island University, Nanaimo Campus  900 Fifth Street, Nanaimo, BC, Canada V9R 5S5
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 14 December 2011
  •  Published: 31 January 2012

Abstract

This paper is a conceptual review of the major crimes leading to ID fraud and losses of millions of dollars for business and people in the world every year. The paper provides a review of the unique effective techniques for sustainable development of prevention methods that have been offered to people and business. In addition, the paper reviews literature and summarizes the most effective ways for people and business to protect them against ID theft because victims may face a lengthy process of cleaning up the damage, such as their reputation, credit rating, and jobs. Identity (ID) theft is unauthorized obtaining of others confidential information in order to misuse it. ID theft is one of the major problems that impose billions of dollars annually on people and businesses across the globe. In 2008 only, 9.9 millions of Americans were victimized which show 22% increase compared to 2007. Analyzing four major factors - political, economic, social, and technological- reveals that social and technological factors are the significant origins of ID theft. Social engineering is a technique for thieves by which social engineers take advantage of people’s behaviors in social networks such as Facebook to steal individuals’ key information. This report examines different types of frauds that are the major outcomes of ID theft. The frauds as the results of ID theft comprise ID fraud, financial fraud, tax fraud, medical fraud, resume fraud, mortgage fraud, and organized crimes such as money laundering, terrorism, and illegal immigration. Moreover, the various techniques that thieves use to attack individuals and organizations are discussed. The different techniques are divided to two major ones, physical and technological. Physical techniques include several traditional ways such as mail theft and insider theft. It is crucial for organizations’ managers to know that despite new technology-based techniques, more than 70% of ID theft occurs by insiders. In addition, it will be shown how thieves apply both technology-based techniques such as phishing and social engineering to steal personal information. Finally several effective prevention techniques will be provided for individuals and organization to protect key data and information against identity theft. Usually, thieves attempt to bypass security systems through human elements. Therefore, the recommendation significantly emphasizes developing individuals’ awareness through public and organizational training. 

 

Key words: Identity, theft, fraud, prevention, personal information.