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New Face of Identity Theft: An Analysis of Federal Case Data for the Years 2008 Through 2013

NCJ Number
Donald J Rebovich; Kristy Allen; Jared Platt
Date Published
November 2015
50 pages
In focusing on the increasing number of identity theft and fraud cases, this study provides empirical evidence on which law enforcement agencies can base enhanced proactive identity theft control and prevention.
Study data were collected from open-source information on U.S. Attorney Office identity theft prosecutions. The data presentation is divided into four categories: the case, the offenders, the commission of the crime, and victimization. Regarding case data, of the offenders convicted, 89.1 percent were convicted on charges of identity theft, followed by offenders convicted of bank fraud. Of U.S. States, Florida had the highest percentage of offenders, followed by California. Regarding offender ages, most were in the 35-49 age group. An increasing number of offenders were found to be operating as part of criminal groups rather than alone. For the 1,395 offenders involved in the cases reviewed, 30 percent stole personal identifying information that was then converted into false identification for the offenders to commit fraud-related offenses. Information stolen included Social Security number, dates of birth, birth certificates, and Medicare identification numbers. The second highest offense category was related to banking financial instruments, including stolen credit cards, stolen bank account information, and the passing of counterfeit checks. The percentage of identity-theft cases rose 14 percent from a similar 2007 study, and the percentage of cases that involved offenders who were strangers to victims remains consistently high at 60.1 percent. In the current study, the second most common victim-offender relationship was as customer/client. 10 figures, 3 references, and appended study instruments