ID Theft, ID Fraud and/or ID-Related Crime - Definitions Matter

Datenschutz und Datensicherheit, Vol. 30, No. 9, pp. 553-556, 2006

6 Pages Posted: 23 Apr 2007

See all articles by Bert-Jaap Koops

Bert-Jaap Koops

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT)

Ronald E. Leenes

Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society; Tilburg Law School; Tilburg University

Abstract

Identity theft is often perceived as one of the major upcoming threats in crime. However, there is no commonly accepted definition of 'identity theft' or 'identity fraud', and it is impossible to study the real threat of this phenomenon without conceptual clarity. In this article, we attempt to provide a starting point for policy and research by proposing some definitions. We indicate that what is usually called 'identity theft' (defined as fraud or another unlawful activity where the identity of an existing person is used as a target or principal tool without that person's consent) is part of the larger issue of 'identity fraud'. This, in turn, is a subset of the umbrella term 'identity-related crime', which we define as all punishable activities that have identity as a target or a principal tool. We argue that it is relevant to look at this broader picture, since not only identity 'theft', but also consensual yet unlawful identity changes as well as unlawful identity deletion should receive the attention of policy-makers and legislatures.

Keywords: identity theft, identity fraud, identity-related crime, ID deletion, policy

JEL Classification: K14, K42

Suggested Citation

Koops, Bert-Jaap and Leenes, Ronald E., ID Theft, ID Fraud and/or ID-Related Crime - Definitions Matter. Datenschutz und Datensicherheit, Vol. 30, No. 9, pp. 553-556, 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=982076

Bert-Jaap Koops (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

Ronald E. Leenes

Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society

NL-5000 LE Tilburg
Netherlands

Tilburg Law School ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, DC 5000 LE
Netherlands

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