Raising Awareness About the Dangers and Harm of Identity Theft

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Cybercrime is a crime that comes in many different forms and happens daily. With it being a newer crime, it makes it hard to police because we don’t have cyber police just yet. Identity theft and phishing are more of the common types of cybercrime that we typically hear about. Since everything we do is online it makes cybercrime that much easier to commit. But do we know how these crimes effect the people who have victims? It’s more to cybercrime than we realize. Most people think it can’t happen to them not understanding it’s the simplest things that can make you a victim of identity theft.

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There is good clear information from studies on how to cut down on identify theft and be more cautious of what you do online. Identity theft is looked at as a crime in the criminal justice field. Sonia Pereira states that, “The terms Identity Theft and Identity Fraud are used when referring to all types of crimes involving the wrongful attainment and use of someone’s personal data in a manner that involves fraud or deception, typically for the fraudster’s economic gain.” (1) As technology grows so does the ability to commit cybercrime. Phishing is happening through the email. An email gets sent to you usually from a bank or anything from a financial point in hopes to get personal information about your financial status. This happens to the people who think these emails are real and they voluntarily give their information over without realizing what they are doing. Identity theft and phishing cause more than just final problems for the individual it has happened to. It can also mess with their credit and or their character. Somehow a lot of people don’t know how to protect themselves. So, how can one protect themselves from identity theft? They should be cautious of the information they put online. There are many fire walls that are able to be downloaded on the computer for extra safety. Another thing to look into is where you are putting your personal information at.

According to Public Wi-Fi usage and identity theft: A correlation study, “Internet expansion and free utilization of Wi-Fi hotspots has empowered the masses to utilize technology in a manner that has increased their vulnerability to identity theft.” People are at risk more than they think. By using a free Wi-fi source you are potentially setting yourself up for cyber crime to take place. This is because open Wi-Fi connections allows anyone to get one. It is better to not do any credit card transactions or log into any personal information while on public Wi-Fi to prevent any of this from happening. Public Wi-Fi usage and identity theft: A correlation study wants to help people talk about the issues of using public Wi-Fi brings to the table. It also talks about how we need more security procedures in the public internet areas. Michael Kidd states that, “According to the U.S. Department of Justice (2015), the number of identity theft victims has increased from 5% of the adult population in the United States in 2005 to 7% in 2014.” (2) Those are stats from a couple years ago. The rates for identity theft have gone up now by a few. But that’s what comes with an internet-based world. As technology gets better so do people’s ways of hacking. In this study they also look at the different people who are targeted in identity theft to see if it has any correlation. Kidd announces, “he found there was a positive relationship between computer self-efficacy and information privacy concerns based on age and gender.” (2) Which there does happen to be a correlation between the two. The older people who use the internet aren’t aware of the different criminal activities that are out there.

With them not having any knowledge on this particular situation it makes them an easy target. In the same study they found out that people aren’t necessarily concerned with identity theft while being on their phone. The real concern comes from having their phone stolen or losing their phone. Kidd says that, “These respondents elaborated by stating that securing their cell phone with a password or other security method would reduce this risk.” (4) While putting a password on your phone does help the risk if the phone is lost or stolen it doesn’t protect it when you are on it. There are ways of obtaining personal information off your phone without you even knowing. Just by the websites you enter, the information you put only on your phone, and the type of Wi-Fi you are connected to at the time. It is believed to be safer to be on your home Wi-Fi rather than public Wi-Fi because the home one is protected with a password vs. public Wi-Fi.

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