Identity Theft: The Pursuit of Shadows.
Identity theft is one of the strangest criminal activities ever conceived by the human mind. The oldest known cases of identity theft goes back in Biblical History, when Jacob the Younger stole his brother’s, Esau, birthright, which sparked off an unquenchable enmity between brothers for generations. Identity theft has deplorable consequences in the worst-case scenario for the victims, and prison-term or even death for the perpetrator of the heinous crime. It makes sense, especially when you consider this particular type of crime, that the greatest human need is the need for connection; albeit the culprit commits the crime for personal again, to fulfill a certain fantasy, it all stems from that great human need. Bizarre cases of identity theft have happened, like a mother stealing her daughter’s identity, or a roommate wanting to look exactly like the roommate; there have been famous cases of identity theft, like the Frank Abagnale $4million heist. Bottom-line, your shadow always walks with you, but not everyone sees it because there’s nothing as elusive as an obvious fact.
Identity thefts are of a variety. From Financial Identity theft, Child Identity theft, Medical identity theft, Identity cloning, Criminal Identity theft, and Synthetic Identity theft . Financial Identity theft refers to the situation where one steals a victim’s financial information for the purpose of achieving a criminal end, that is, financial data mining. Child identity is where one steals information belonging to a minor for the purpose of personal gain, such as obtaining financial windfalls.
Medical Identity is where one steals the medical information of someone in order to seek medical care or get medicine to sell or sate his/her addictive tendencies. Identity cloning is where someone steals another’s identity in order to conceal his own, like the “fake ID” phenomenon. Criminal Identity theft is where one identifies himself to authorities as another. Synthetic Identity theft- the complete fabrication or partial of information, creating a whole new identity; a recently emerging trend, especially with computer technology evolution.
There are various punitive measures based on the type of identity theft committed. A victim of fraud can file a lawsuit, which are usually broadly-based owing to the fact the presence of many organizations and people can be subject to liability incurred post-identity theft. The plaintiff can sue for infliction of emotional distress, negligence, defamation, breach of contract, intrusion upon seclusion, invasion of privacy, appropriation of likeness or name, breach of fiduciary duty, false misrepresentation of facts, and publication of private facts. Albeit, the details to every case alter, mutatis mutandis. Perpetrators can get up to 30 years of imprisonment, depending on the particular details of the case. The issuing of fines for certain misdemeanor cases, forfeiture of property used in committing the crime, prosecution for related crime as mail fraud. It’s a general rule of thumb to protect you against Identity Theft to the best way possible. Familiarizing oneself with all forms of identity theft does really help. “Know Thineself.”