CIMIP Director Publishes ID Theft Article in Victims and Offenders Journal
Rebovich Discusses Emerging Crime Area
Written By Ingrid Norris
Article calls for empirical research on ID theft crimes, offenders
Utica, NY (11/15/2009)- In October, Donald Rebovich, Ph.D., executive director of the Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP) of Utica College, published an article titled Examining Identity Theft: Empirical Explorations of the Offense and the Offender. The article appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Victims and Offenders, volume 4, issue 4.
Published by Routledge of Taylor & Francis Group, Victims & Offenders provides an interdisciplinary and international forum for the dissemination of new research, policies and practices related to both victimization and offending throughout the life course.
Rebovich’s article addresses identity theft as an emerging crime area that has, in recent years, garnered increasing attention from the media thus affecting the individual’s perception of the real effects of identity theft crimes. In general, the common sense methodology influences individuals to form their own opinion about an emerging crime area based upon a combination of published reports of examples of notorious case incidents, broadcast vignettes depicting the unfortunate experiences of the victims, media announcements cautioning against behavior that may precipitate victimization, and (quite often) simple word-of mouth. The frequency and the veracity of the transmission of this type of information become powerful determinants in how the general public digests the information and draws conclusions about the type of danger the crime poses to them. However, Rebovich cautions that speculative common sense methodology does not provide the tools necessary to proactively facilitate both original and effective identity theft enforcement efforts that will strengthen our abilities to genuinely contain and prevent identity theft.
This article calls attention to the need to develop and conduct empirical research to provide a clearer and more comprehensive picture of common characteristics of the crime of identity theft and, also, of those who commit it. Two empirical research studies are highlighted in this article. One study uses archival data and the other uses interview data that afford evidence-based insights into key characteristics of identity theft offenders. Critical factors in the commission of identity crimes are discussed along with individual and system “fault lines” that can be exploited by enterprising identity criminals. The article then discusses the policy implication value of how evidence-based offense/offender research can be integrated with victim research to enhance identity theft control.