IDENTITY THEFT

Identity Theft as a term refers to Fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else. The term is relatively new and is actually a misnomer, since it is not inherently possible to steal an identity, only to use it. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions.

Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else's identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit and other benefits in the other person's name and perhaps to the other person's disadvantage or loss. The person whose identity has been assumed may suffer adverse consequences if they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Identity theft occurs when someone uses another's personally identifying information, like their name, identifying number, or credit card number, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes.

Types of Identity Theft

Identity cloning and concealment

In this situation, the identity thief impersonates someone else in order to conceal their own true identity. Examples might be illegal immigrants, people hiding from creditors or other individuals, or those who simply want to become "anonymous" for personal reasons. Another example are posers, a label given to people who use somebody else’s photos and information through social networking sites. Mostly, posers create believable stories involving friends of the real person they are imitating. Unlike identity theft used to obtain credit which usually comes to light when the debts mount, concealment may continue indefinitely without being detected, particularly if the identity thief is able to obtain false credentials in order to pass various authentication tests in everyday life.

Criminal identity theft

When a criminal fraudulently identifies himself to police as another individual at the point of arrest, it is sometimes referred to as "Criminal Identity Theft." In some cases criminals have previously obtained state-issued identity documents using credentials stolen from others, or have simply presented fake ID. Provided the subterfuge works, charges may be placed under the victim's name, letting the criminal off the hook. Victims might only learn of such incidents by chance, for example by receiving court summons, discovering their drivers licenses are suspended when stopped for minor traffic violations, or through background checks performed for employment purposes.

It can be difficult for the victim of a criminal identity theft to clear their record. The steps required to clear the victim's incorrect criminal record depend in which jurisdiction the crime occurred and whether the true identity of the criminal can be determined. The victim might need to locate the original arresting officers and prove their own identity by some reliable means such as fingerprinting or DNA testing, and may need to go to a court hearing to be cleared of the charges. Obtaining an expungement of court records may also be required. Authorities might permanently maintain the victim's name as an alias for the criminal's true identity in their criminal records databases. One problem that victims of criminal identity theft may encounter is that various data aggregators might still have the incorrect criminal records in their databases even after court and police records are corrected. Thus it is possible that a future background check will return the incorrect criminal records. This is just one example of the kinds of impact that may continue to affect the victims of identity theft for some months or even years after the crime, aside from the psychological trauma that being 'cloned' typically engenders.

Identity Theft can occur as casually as on such Social Networking sites like Facebook which encourages one to reveal one’s Personal Information in order to have a so called “Celebrity Status”, but anyone who hates your guts can tarnish your personal information and can ruin your public image. Identity Theft can also be used to facilitate crimes like Illegal Immigration, Terrorism and Espionage, further it can also be used as a tool for Blackmail. There have also been cases on Identity Cloning so as to attack the Payment Systems, Online Credit Card Processing, Online Banking.

Today the number of person engaging in transactions through the use of Internet in India are increasing at an alarming rate and so are these Crimes. According to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) the percentage of Cyber Crimes accounted around 65% but the actual number prove to be elusive considering the fact that most of such cases go unreported.

Government needs to take serious measures in order to regulate such offences in India and should take an initiative so as to differentiate it from Cyber Crimes and do not confuse the term Identity Theft with Cyber Crimes only as this “Identity Theft” is more or less directly an outright daylight Robbery as the identity is being stolen and sold to crooks for a few sprinkle of dollars, pounds or euros that has nothing to do with cyber crimes and subsequently the outsourcing firms are facing devastating consequences as Indian professionals have built for themselves an enviable global reputation through hard work, dedication and commitment and the occasional misguided acts of such individuals should not be allowed to hamper the high reputation of all professionals. These criminals are greedy – they are not high tech thieves and most of them are not aware of techniques like hacking the cyber systems. They just make the actual access to computer files and steal them in front of every one.

Though Government is taking certain measures to ensure the rights of the individuals to be protected and has made ceratin proposals for Amendment of the IT Act , 2000 and has also recommended the inclusion of two new sections into the IPC-147A (punish cheating by using any unique identification feature of any other person with up to three years imprisonment and a fine) and Section 419A (punish cheating by impersonating using a network or computer resource with up to five years imprisonment and a fine) , but the Organizations and the Individuals are not very much looking forward for the Amendment of the IT Act , 2000 , they are more concerned about strict enforcement of the present Act.

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