There is currently a huge growing number of criminals that now do greater and more widespread damage to their victims without ever meeting them. Identity theft surfaced in the early 1990s and turned peoples everyday transactions into a data gathering game. Bits of personal information such as bankcards, credit card accounts, income, social security numbers or just someone name, address, and phone numbers are now collected and could be used illegally by these individuals without anyone’s knowledge.
The purpose of this study is to investigate what is being done to help control this growing crime in North Carolina. This includes the evaluation of the identity theft policies that the banks in North Carolina have in place. The study attempted to determine which bank had better and tougher policies as well as whether or not these security policies had helped reduce identity theft complaints in North Carolina since the date of it’s origin.
Background of the study
Identity theft is whereby an individual obtains some piece of an unsuspecting victim’s sensitive information and uses it without their knowledge to commit fraud or theft. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “people whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years and their hard earned money trying to clean up the mess the thieves have made of their good name and credit record. Some victims have lost job opportunities, been refused loans for education, housing, cars or even arrested for crimes they didn’t commit.”
According to the FBI statistics, Identity Theft is the fastest growing crime in the U.S.’s (Tribune Business News, 2003). Identity theft thieves have perfected the art of collecting information of unsuspecting victims and now all the law enforcement agencies, as well as affected companies, are working hard to find ways to combat these issues.
There are several ways that identity theft thieves gain access to your personal information. Lost wallets, purses, stolen or lost mail used to be the main source of such private information. Mail, which sometime, includes bank statements, pre-approved credit cards, and tax papers are a source of a large amount of data. In recent years, many have been known to steal records from their employer, bribe an employee who has access to these records, or hack into the organization’s computers. The less sophisticated thieves have perfected the art of “dumpster-driving” rummaging through trash. Abusing employer’s authorized access to credit reports or some even playing ‘landlord’ has given them unauthorized access to victim’s reports. Some victims have been scammed fro information by an identity thief posing as a legitimate businessperson or government official. In the most recent news from Concord, NC (Aug. 19, 2004), the police have uncovered a more sophisticated...