Deceptive emails that seem to come from legitimate institutions. The email will ask people to verify information such as “name, address, account number, PIN, and SSS,” which is known as phishing (Combating Identity Theft, 2007). Another tactic that is employed is pretexting, which is the “request [of] customer account information” by contacting individuals over the phone pretending to be “a financial institution or telephone company” (Combating Identity Theft, 2007). While another technique used is skimming.
Skimming involves the utilization of a skimmer, which is “an inexpensive electronic device with a slot through which a person passes or ‘skims’ a credit or debit card… the skimmer reads and records the magnetically encoded data on the magnetic stripe on the back of the card. That data then can be downloaded either to make fraudulent copies of real cards, or to make purchases when the card is not required, such as online [transactions]” (Combating Identity Theft, 2007).
Targeted victims of this unfortunate circumstance find out- a little bit too late- about these illegal activities. It is only when they receive their bank statements or get a phone call from credit companies that they become aware of the dire situation they are in. By then irreparable damages have been done already. The situation is aggravated because “they do not get effective help from the credit grantors, banks, and the CRA’s. They describe difficulty in reaching the credit reporting agencies, and tell how they are treated disbelievingly by some creditors.
Victims also report that flagging their credit report for fraud doesn’t always stop the impostor from obtaining more credit” (Identity Theft: How it Happens, 2000). Also, to make matters worst, victims “spend a great deal of time cleaning up the mess…. many… tak[e] the day or the week off work so they can make the necessary phone calls, write the letters, and get affidavits notarized. This costs them money as well… In a recent survey we conducted with CALPIRG, we found the average amount of time spent by victims to regain their financial health was 175 hours” (Identity Theft: How it Happens, 2000).
Hence, it is not surprising to encounter victims who feel helpless, frustrated and angry. Federal laws have been established to combat cybercrime such as identity theft. The violation of the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (18 USC 1028), is when “someone knowingly uses the identification of another person with the intention to commit any unlawful activity,” constitutes as a federal felony (Identity Theft: How it Happens, 2000).
The US Department of Justice handles such crimes (Identity Theft: How it Happens, 2000). Moreover, the 18 U. S. C 1028, states that “ [f]raud and related activity in connection with identification documents, authentication features and information… [d]efines the knowing production, transfer and possession of false identification documents as crime. This statute also outlaws the possession of document-making implements such as computer files, hardware and software” (Identity Theft: How it Happens, 2000).
In addition, imprisonment can also ensue for the offender. The Aggravated Identity Theft (18 U. S. C. 1028A) states that two year imprisonment can result from fraudulent activities. This act covers instance wherein a person “knowingly transfers, possesses or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person during and in relation to any felony violation of certain enumerated federal offenses’ .