U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Preventing Identity-Related Crime: The Challenges of Identification (From Perspectives on Identity Theft, P 133-150, 2008, Megan M. McNally and Graeme R. Newman, eds. -- See NCJ-223725)

NCJ Number
Russell G. Smith
Date Published
18 pages
This chapter provides a framework for assessing the competing factors that must be addressed when determining how to minimize risks associated with crimes that involve the misuse of documents and other evidence used to establish identity.
There are three types of mechanisms for individuals to use in establishing their identity. The traditional approach relies on people submitting documents for inspection by the staff of government agencies or financial institutions. Each document is assigned a value depending on its level of security. Primary documents, including certificates of citizenship, passports, and birth certification, are assigned the highest number of points. A second approach to identification involves the use of biometric technologies, such as fingerprinting or facial scanning, which identify an individual’s unique physical feature. A third approach to identification is the use of identity cards, such as those that use computer chips secured with a personal identification number (PIN). Selecting the appropriate identification mechanism or system of mechanisms for a particular interaction, transaction, or entrance requires the evaluation of an expanding body of technical evidence regarding system performance, as well as an assessment of a range of social, legal, and practical considerations that pertain to privacy, data security, user acceptance, and cost. This chapter provides 10 groups of factors against which each of the 3 types of identification systems can be evaluated for the security of a given operation. These factors are initial enrollment in the identification procedure, the risk of false acceptance or false rejection of an identification, efficiency, data security, counterfeiting risk, privacy, user acceptance, rectification difficulties once a system has been compromised, cost, and displacement of crime to softer locations. 1 table and 17 references