Identity Theft Research Review: Types of Identity Theft

Depending on the definition of identity theft, the most common type is credit card fraud of various kinds. Evidence indicates that the extent of credit card fraud on the Internet (and by telephone) has increased because of the opportunities provided by the Internet environment. Some researchers prefer not to include credit card fraud in true identity theft, since it may occur only once and may be discovered quickly by the credit card issuing company, often even before the individual cardholder knows that the fraud has occurred. Other types of identity theft, such as account takeover, are more involved and take longer to identify and investigate.

Seven broad types of identity theft—

  • Exploiting weakness in specific technologies and information systems.

  • Financial scams.

  • As a motive for other crimes (e.g., bribing employees to provide passwords).

  • Facilitating other crimes.

  • Avoiding arrest.

  • Repeat victimization ("classic" identity theft).

  • Organized identity theft.

Date Created: June 7, 2010