In today's society, there is a white-collar crime that has greatly risen in popularity among criminals. This crime is identity theft. Hundreds of thousands of people have their identities stolen each year. Identity theft is when these criminals obtain and use consumers personal information such as credit card numbers, bank account numbers, insurance information, and social security numbers to purchase goods or services fraudulently. According to the Federal Trade Commission, over 1.1 million people were the victim of identity theft. With this number, it is very evident that identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our country. This paper will attempt to more thoroughly define identity theft. It will give examples of identity theft by examining the stories of Rosalie Pugliese and Mari Frank. It will show ways in which this very easily committed crime can be avoided, and in the extreme case that a person is a victim of identity fraud, to show the steps one can take to get their lives back on track. .
According to identityguard.com, identity theft is defined as, "when someone uses your name or personal information to open a credit account, take out a loan, or make a major purchase. And if they can do it once, they can do it repeatedly, using each new account as a reference for the next one. The result is that identity thieves can run up thousands of dollars worth of charges or obligations all in your name."" In our current society, since there have been a great deal of technological advances made, it is easier than ever for a common criminal to steal a social security number, a bank account number, or any other piece of information which could help a criminal gain access to ones personal finances. Identity thieves can retrieve vital information in many different ways. They can look through your trash at home or at work and retrieve a discarded bill, a piece of mail, or a credit application.