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Article

Identity Theft  

Dylan Reynolds

Identity theft commonly refers to the illegal theft and misuse of another person’s identity information, resulting in a benefit to the offender or harm to the victim. With the rise of technological payment systems, identity theft increased dramatically in the 1990s and 2000s and impacts almost 1 in 10 adults annually. Identity theft can be difficult to measure, in part because few victims report it to law enforcement and government agencies and because victims often have limited knowledge about how their information was obtained and misused. Identity theft can involve the misuse of existing bank, credit, or other accounts, the creation of new accounts, or other fraudulent misuses of personal information. Moreover, the methods of acquiring identity information vary and include hacking, phishing, and stealing physical documents. While identity theft’s rise results from increasing technological reliance, the relative prevalence of online and offline forms remains unknown. The limited research on identity theft offenders finds that their motives and techniques vary, but that committing identity theft is usually a rational choice and that offenders often use techniques to neutralize identity theft behaviors. More research exists on identity theft victims, due, in part, to identity theft victimization surveys, which find that victims face a range of consequences and reporting options. Globally, both criminal and consumer protection laws have been implemented or modified to respond to identity theft, although victims must typically advocate for themselves to resolve identity theft’s consequences.

Article

Online Fraud  

Cassandra Cross

Each year, millions of individuals worldwide find themselves victims of online fraud. Whether it is responding to a fraudulent email with bank account details or being defrauded through a false relationship, fraud can have a life-changing impact on an individual victim. For many victims, this goes beyond pure monetary losses and impacts their physical and emotional health and well-being. Historically, fraud has not been the priority of police or government agencies; however, increased developments in technology mean that fraud is affecting a greater number of victims than ever before. The online nature of many fraudulent approaches carries with it a new set of unique challenges associated with the policing and prevention of online fraud, and victim support services are currently not well equipped (if even in existence) to deal with the aftermath of victimization.

Article

Women and White-Collar Crime  

Mary Dodge

Women and white-collar crime is a topic that has, overall, received little attention in the literature. Initially, women were omitted from discussion and research because of their lack of participation, though some early commentary focused on victimization. When Edwin Sutherland first drew public and academic attention to white-collar crimes, few women were employed in positions that were conducive to commit elite crimes related to occupations or professions. According to Sutherland, white-collar crime involved professional men in positions of trust. From 1939 until the 1970s, work on white-collar offenders and offenses was male-centric, which included both scholarly researchers who were exploring the topic and males committing the majority of crimes. Corporations and respected professionals, not women, were presented with a multitude of opportunities to engage in white-collar crimes with little or no serious consequences. Primarily male corporate executives, politicians, and medical professionals committed white-collar crimes that included, for example, activities such as price fixing, insider trading, bribery, insurance fraud, and Ponzi schemes. Women, who lacked opportunity outside the private sphere of the home, were less involved in crime overall and certainly were in no position to commit white-collar offenses. In the 1940s and 1950s, female crime was typically viewed as promiscuous, aberrant, and male-like behavior. Eventually, in the mid-1970s as more women moved into the public sphere seeking employment, early predictions by female scholars suggested that an increased involvement in white-collar crime was inevitable. The types of crimes committed by women, as noted by pioneering female scholars, were likely to expand beyond prostitution, check kiting, and shoplifting to white-collar offenses as opportunities became increasingly available in the public sphere. Gender inequality in most criminal endeavors continues to exist and more recent debates continue about the role of women in white-collar crime.