UC CIMIP Releases Report: "New Face of Identity Theft"
Offenders Older, Acting in Groups, Targeting Strangers
Written By Marissa Filletti '18, PR Intern
Follow up to previous study shows changes, including increase in false tax claims with stolen ID information
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Utica, NY (11/17/2015)- Utica College’s Center for Identity Management and Information Protection (CIMIP) has just released its report, “The New Face of Identity Theft,” coinciding with International Fraud Awareness Week.
The study, which analyzed federal case data from 2008 to 2013, was intended to serve as a follow up to CIMIP’s 2007 study, “Identity Fraud Trends and Patterns: Building a Data-Based Foundation for Proactive Enforcement.” The 2007 study evaluated identity crime trends to provide law enforcers with proactive rather than reactive means of combating identity theft. Both studies were supported by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, a component of the Office of Justice Programs.
In order to study the commonalities in each case, the findings were separated into four categories: the case itself, which includes its judicial jurisdiction and the type of crime committed; characteristics of the offenders, including gender, age and legal status; commission of the crime, which takes an in-depth look into the methods used by the offenders and their point of compromise; and finally victimization, which splits the victims into different categories and analyzes their relationship with the offenders.
The study found that the five states with the largest number of offenders convicted during the study were Florida, California, Texas, New Jersey and Georgia. Nearly 90 percent of these offenders were charged with identity theft, while the other most common charges were bank fraud, tax fraud, access device fraud and wire fraud.
In the analysis of the offenders, the study found that they were generally older than in the 2007 CIMIP study. The 25-to-34 and 18-to-24 age groups both decreased significantly in offenses from the previous study, while the age groups from 35 to 49 and 50 and up increased to now represent more than half of the offenders.
The report states that more identity criminals, now almost 64 percent, were found to be operating as part of a group rather than by themselves; contrary to the 2007 study which found the majority of identity criminals acted alone. Similarly, technological devices used by offenders increased to now represent 62 percent of all identity theft cases in the study.
Almost identical to the 2007 study, this study found that the vast majority of identity thieves, 60 percent, target strangers. This lack of significant change over time indicates that stranger-based identity crime cases represent an unrelenting threat to the general public. Other common relationships between offenders and victims include customer/client and the financial services industry.
An emerging form of identity theft that showed prominence in the new study was the submission of false tax claims with the IRS using stolen ID information. Offenders used a number of approaches to commit these types of offenses, including stealing ID information from a variety of sources, including prisons and nursing homes.
“By taking a deeper look into the characteristics of each case, we were able to identify and measure the characteristics of identity thieves as well as high-risk circumstances in order to anticipate and combat criminal activity,” said Donald Rebovich, Ph.D., professor of criminal justice and executive director of CIMIP.
International Fraud Awareness week is recognized by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, the world’s largest anti-fraud organization and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education.
Founded in June of 2006, Utica College’s Center for Identity Management and Information Protection is a research collaborative dedicated to furthering national research in identity management, information sharing and data protection.
Utica College has established a national reputation for its suite of justice studies programs including economic crime and fraud management, cybersecurity and information assurance, financial crime and compliance management and criminal justice. For more information on UC programs, visit www.utica.edu/academics/programs/.
For more information on CIMIP, contact Rebovich at firstname.lastname@example.org or (315) 792-3231.
About Utica College – Utica College, founded in 1946, is a comprehensive private institution offering bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees. The College, located in upstate central New York, approximately 90 miles west of Albany and 50 miles east of Syracuse, currently enrolls over 4,400 students in 44 undergraduate majors, 30 minors, 21 graduate programs and a number of pre-professional and special programs.