Authors: Alan Brill and Troy Allen
This article is reprinted with permission from the MMC journal Viewpoint, Volume XXXIV.
Identity theft has become one of the fastest-growing white collar crimes in the world. Just as infectious diseases can today spread faster due to technological developments like affordable jet travel, so too has the growth of identity theft exploded because of the Internet and the ubiquity of powerful computer databases.
This unfortunate expansion has brought identity theft far beyond its origins of petty thieves pilfering wallets and stealing letters from mailboxes. Violent felons and organized crime now engage in high-volume identity thefts to finance a wide variety of illegal activities. No matter who perpetrates it, identity theft is a crime, at least in those countries that have passed actual laws against it, that wreaks its own special brand of havoc. Its victims can spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars trying to regain control of sensitive personal information, restore credit ratings, and deflect court judgments or lawsuits.