Identity fraud/theft or impersonation comes about when one individual takes up the identity of another person for purposes of gaining access to a certain place or to acquire the resources of the target victim. Compared to other major crimes, it is still a relatively rare crime but it still plays a major role than anyone may think. According to statistics of identity theft released by the Federal Bureau of Justice in December 2013, over $25 billion was lost countrywide through this vice in 2012, and this is $10 billion more than other forms of crimes related to property combined. Here are some of the major forms of impersonation.
This comes about when an individual gains access to the financial resources of another person. In the US, about 15 million people fall victim of financial impersonation each year. In such cases, the impersonation may take the form of credit card fraud, savings account scam, investment account con, loan account fraud, or even tax fraud. Unfortunately, technology is now offering these fraudsters an edge, and this is probably the reason why not many cases reported reach prosecution for lack of substantial evidence.
In this case, the fraudster impersonates another person for the purposes of acquiring medical services. In the US, around two hundred and fifty thousand cases of medical impersonations are reported annually. The resultant problems that victims of medical impersonation face include false claims of health insurance, falsified medical bills, denial of claims for insurance policies such as health and life, high expenses due to money spent correcting the falsified medical records, among others.
This occurs when an impersonator commits a crime and then adopts the identity of the victim in order to flee from the law. The estimation of victims of criminal impersonation runs in thousands every year and causes great anguish and trauma to the victims. The consequences faced by targets of fraudsters include false arrests and jail time, denial of employment due to false criminal records, stigmatization in the community (people do not care if the victim actually committed the alleged crime or not) and in worst case scenarios, death if the police shoot the victim.
What the Studies Reveal
In the United States of America alone, around 15 million residents fall victim to this form of crime every year. The approximate percentage of adult victims comes close to seven percent resulting in financial losses that amount close to $3,500. In case records stored in databases belonging to a government agency or other corporate organizations goes missing and ends up in the wrong hands, about 100 million American residents are at risk of identity theft.
Everyone needs to take caution in order to safeguard him or herself from identity thieves. An individual can ensure the security of personal information by limiting the amount of personal data he or she disseminates. If you suspect that someone is using your identity however minor, you need to take immediate action to block all the accounts that the fraudster may get into in order to prevent the crime before it actually happens.