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Perspectives on Identity Theft

NCJ Number
Megan M. McNally, Graeme R. Newman
Date Published
198 pages
This book explores theory, research, and crime-prevention practice related to identity theft, defined in the editors’ introduction as “an instance in which an individual’s personal information is used by another to facilitate an act of fraud.”
The first two chapter are theoretical. One chapter views identity theft from the opportunity perspective. The discussion explores the ease and anonymity of the offense, which may be committed without the knowledge of the victim; the technology that facilitates identity theft; and the technology that can be used to prevent it. The second chapter examines the meaning and mechanics of identity theft through the use of the “script” approach. The next two chapters present the findings of research projects. One of these chapters reports new findings from surveys of persons who have been victims of identity theft, with a view toward gaining more information about the methods and impact on victims of identity theft, as well as profiles of any known offenders. The chapter discusses how victimization data can be used to structure future interventions. The next chapter explores the commission of identity theft from the offender’s perspective, as it reports on interviews with identity thieves in prison, with attention to their motivations, strategies, and skills. This is followed by a chapter that traces the evolution of the rate and methods of identity theft and related fraud in the United Kingdom, along with the chronology of various security methods developed to counter these crimes. Other chapters address security systems designed to authenticate an individual’s identity and the application of situational-crime-prevention principles in securing information systems against criminal attacks, including identity theft. Chapter notes and references