American Public University (ITCC500)




Identity theft is an offence in which a fraudster steals critical information that identify an individual and utilizes them for his/her own individual benefit. The critical information could be a social security number, an institution registration number, a driving license and many others (Graeme R. Newman, 2005). It generally begins when crucial individual information falls into the hands of imposters and fraudsters enabling them to impersonate the owner of the information. This information could have key details of how to access a credit card or a loan on the individual’s name. The identity thieves utilize a large number of tricks and tactics to capture the information they require. The worse thing is that this kind of crime is done completely in silence and in many occasions no alarms are raised and the victim can go for a long duration of time without realizing that they have been compromised (Reyns & Henson, 2016).

One of the biggest causes of identity theft is the loss or stealing of personal documents like passports, wallets and purses. The wallets and purses could contain identification cards and other documents that have social security and bank account numbers. Identity thieves may also illegally go through an individual’s mail and garbage and come out with potentially critical information. Another trigger of identity theft is unprotected online data. This is especially a fast emerging issue due to the increased dependency on technology for banking, shopping and general social interactions. If credit cards and bank accounts are used in poorly protected websites, the identity thief could easily obtain the information that he/she needs to commit a crime. It is therefore not advisable to use weak passwords while transacting businesses online or using a single password for multiple sites (Hurt, 2015).

Another major trigger for identity theft is the occurrence of an organization-wide data breach (Identity Theft of Celebrities and Wealthy, 2008). This could affect shoppers at national retailers, or registered handlers of big websites. The latter is broadly categorized as a cyber-crime in which hackers breach an organization’s private records to dig out the personal data of their customers (Romanosky, 2011).

Problem statement

Identity theft is a growing concern today due to the emergence of more and more tools and tricks in breaching personal data. Statistics have shown that the yearly reports of identity theft have been increasing in number and in severity.

Purpose of the study

The goal of this study is to determine the different trends in identity theft and the different means employed in combating them. It will allow the reader to have a better perspective of the different means the identity thieves employ to gain access to personal information by investigating how systems could be exploited and giving the readers a concrete understanding of the privacy issues when working with unsecured devices.

Significance of the study

This study intends to be the base for future development and is aimed to create a security concern over the development of new technology to encourage the security of the users, against identity theft.


Graeme R. Newman, M. M. (2005). Identity Theft Literature Review. 1-103.

Hurt, R. L. (2015). Identity Theft. Retrieved from NACADA :

Identity Theft of Celebrities and Wealthy. (2008, september 29). Retrieved from Credit Identity Theft:

Reyns, B. W., & Henson, B. (2016). “The thief with a thousand faces and the victim with none: Identifying determinants for online identity theft victimization with routine activity theory.”. International journal of offender therapy and comparative criminology , 1119-1139.

Romanosky, S. R. (2011). “Do data breach disclosure laws reduce identity theft?.” . Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 256-286.

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