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Identity Theft Identity theft refers to all types of crimes in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud deception, typically for economic gain. A classic example of identity theft is a bank fraud that occurs when the fraudster obtains a loan from a financial institution by impersonating someone else. The criminal pretends to be the victim by presenting an accurate name, address, birth date, or other information that the lender requires as a means of establishing identity. The lender has no easy way to discover that the person is pretending to be the victim, especially if an original, government-issued id can’t be verified (as is the case in online, mail, telephone, and fax-based transactions). The criminal keeps the money from the loan, the financial institution is never repaid, and the victim is wrongly blamed for defaulting on a loan s/he never authorized. Other examples include: • Going on spending sprees using the victim’s credit and debit card account numbers to buy “big-ticket” items like computers that they can easily sell. • Opening a new credit card account, using your name, date of birth and SSN. When the fraudster uses the credit card and doesn’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. • Calling your credit card issuer and, pretending to be you, ask to change the mailing address on your credit card account. The imposter then runs up charges on your account. Because your bills are being sent to the new address, it may take some time before you realize there’s a problem. • Open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account. • File for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they’ve incurred under your name, or to avoid eviction. • Give your name to the police during an arrest. If they’re released from police custody, but don’t show up for their court date, an arrest warrant is issued in your name. 1. What controls can one incorporate to prevent identity theft? 2. Which of these do you utilize? 3. Have you or someone you know ever been a victim of identity theft? If so, describe.