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
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: Suggested Citation