Federal Law on Identity Theft: The Department of Justices Case against
Are you aware of the present notorious crime in the United States of America
and Canada? Until the present time, no other crime can be carried out with
maniacal cruelty and audacity than identity theft.
It is now the fastest growing crime in America. In 2002, the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) reports that 43% of all fraud complaints they received are
actually identity theft. By 2003, identity theft cases and incidents have
already reached 9.9 million.
In the United States, for every five families, one fall victim to the notoriety
and insidiousness of the identity thieves. It is quite truly hard to prevent
becoming a victim of identity theft. Even with taking every precaution in
the book, in order to safeguard your personal information, the identity thieves
seem to be one-step ahead.
The truth is you can never be sure if the known measure you do to prevent
falling victim to identity theft are effective. There is still a prevalent
insecurity every time you use your credit card, write a check, sign up for
magazines, order something over the phone or internet or use your PIN number.
Always, the possibility lurks that the information you are using will find
its way exists that that information may get into the identity thieves. Just
being aware of that fact and cautious about who you give your personal
information to will put you far above the rest of the pack.
These crimes are estimated to have taken the average victim $500 and 30 hours
to resolve. Some of the case starts from simple stolen credit cards to total
identity kidnapping. These ugly and prevalent crimes are hard to prevent.
There is also a difficulty to correct such cases.
More often, especially on felons convicted before identity theft became a
federal law case, there are no recriminations felt.
Identity theft is one of the most insidious forms of white-collar crime.
In a traditional fraud scheme, prospective victims are contacted directly
by criminals who use lies and deception to persuade the victims to part with
The crime does not require direct interaction between the criminal and the
victim. Identity theft is not a crime committed for its own sake. Criminals
engage in identity theft to further and facilitate many other types of criminal
offenses, including fraud.
The recent federal prosecutions show some of the many ways in which people
can commit identity theft crime. The powerful criminal statute, identity
theft offense (18 U.S.C. § 1028(a) (7)), and other federal criminal
The federal law against identity theft has not been possible until 1998 when
exemplary cases of identity theft made it clear that the crime deserve a
Now, there are a number of federal laws applicable to identity theft. Some
of these are used for prosecution of identity theft offenses. Some are there
to assist victims in repairing recouping their credit record and reputation.
The primary identity theft statute is 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a) (7) enacted
on October 30, 1998. It became part of the Identity Theft and Assumption
Deterrence Act (Identity Theft Act). This was a solid support to strengthen
the criminal offense of identity theft acts since the 18 U.S.C. § 1028
previously addressed only the fraudulent creation, use, or transfer of
identification documents, and not the theft or criminal use of the underlying
To criminalize the fraud in connection with the unlawful theft and misuse
of personal identifying information, the Identity Theft Act also added
§1028(a) (7). Now, regardless of whether the information appears or
is used in documents this additional provision states that it is already
unlawful for anyone who consciously transfer or use, without lawful authority
the identification of another person.
The Identity Theft Act also made way for the review and amendment of Sentencing
Guidelines and penalties imposed for each offense under Section 1028 by the
United States Sentencing Commission.
These major steps and many others, by the Federal government demonstrate
that now, the whole US regards identity theft as a serious crime problem.
Further, it is also an indication that the Federal government, together with
the States is already requiring a comprehensive and coordinated approach
to fighting identity theft.
Since minute data shows that identity theft does not choose specific victims,
even people who handle their personal data carefully are prone to become
victims, federal prosecutors are now actively doing all means to combat it
effectively. Throughout the country, the federal government assures that
it will be a continuing campaign with close coordination with the FTC and