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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

Fakes and Forgeries in Art, and the More Specific Term “Art Fraud”: A Criminological Perspective  

Kenneth Polk

Fakes and forgeries are topics of frequent and agitated discussion in the art world. For criminologists, this interests shifts to art fraud because of its fit with issues of non-authentic art. While fraud shares with the wider interests the need to demonstrate deception (an obvious aspect of a fake), a successful prosecution will require in addition that the defendant be shown to be dishonest (that is, that the deception is intentional), that there is harm as a consequence, and that the victim was actually deceived. Despite its popularity as a topic for discussion in the art world, actual cases of art fraud are exceptionally rare, although cases of “mistaken identity” are reasonably common (but these will often lack the deception and intentionality required of fraud). Among the reasons for art fraud being infrequently observed appear to be: (1) police are less than eager to pursue issues of fraud in art; (2) the deceptive skills required of a successful art faker are actually rarely observed or achieved; and (3) the role of the victim in art fraud is complex and often renders victims either passive or non-compliant with the justice process.