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Federal Law on Identity Theft: The Department of Justice’s Case against Identity Theft


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 their money.

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 offenses.

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 heavier sentence.

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 personal information.

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 other agencies.

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