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Senior Project Essay

2459 words - 10 pages

You come home late one night after a rough day at work. You’re hungry, tired, achy and all you want to do is lie down. You pick up the mail and notice a letter from a credit card company you don’t have a contract with. Slowly, you open the envelope, not knowing what to expect. Suddenly, pure terror fills you as you stare at a bill for over five thousand dollars. You reassure yourself and say this obviously must be some mistake. You never opened this credit card account, but yet it’s in your name and it is your address. You may not believe it, but your identity has been stolen and now someone is out there posing as you, running willy nilly around town with your life in hand. The truth is, ...view middle of the document...

In the 1930’s with the end of prohibition America would see the most common form of identity theft for over half a century, the “fake ID”. Reasons for Identity Theft changed over time and became more sophisticated as new forms of technology were introduced to the public. Now not only did people have the motive, but also the resources to take someone’s identity and money.
However, what exactly is considered modern identity theft? Identity Theft is when a criminal uses someone else’s identification documents such as social security number, drivers license, tax documents, birth certificate, bank statements and many other forms of identification in order to impersonate them. Once someone has this information there are a number of ways in which they could use it and a number of ways in which they can obtain it.

Phishing is the most common type of identity theft in the world. Thieves will send fake emails out to people saying there is a problem with their paypal or Amazon accounts. It claims that if they do not enter their account information in a timely manner, then their accounts will become frozen. It is not just emails regarding account information, but fake malicious websites are also created. These websites and emails scare people into giving their personal information, without even realizing what they have done before it is already too late.
Richard Darell a writer for “Get Cyber Safe” claims that about 156 million phishing emails are sent out worldwide daily. He explains that 8 million of these emails will be opened and 10% of these emails have links that can be clicked. So statistically, 800,000 emails per day have the potential to ruin someone’s life.
However, there are so many ways that people can protect themselves from falling victim to phishing emails. Some of these methods do not even require any work on our part. For example, Richard Darell explained in his article how 90% of phishing emails are automatically filtered through spam. So therefore the chances are greatly lowered. The Federal Trade Commision also warns not to open files, click on links or download programs sent by strangers. Though even with all these protections and warnings 10% of people still find a way to get their identity stolen from phishing emails. That is 80,000 people losing their identity, finances, and credit card information a day just from phishing. What makes things even worse, according to a study by Cristy Jefon 61 percent of people do not even report accounts of Identity Theft to the police. These people are completely ignorant of how important their personal information really is. With all the warning signs and protections it is absolutely the victim’s fault if their identity is stolen this way.
Spyware is also a common way that people get their identities stolen. People usually encounter spyware by downloading files or software, opening email attachments or clicking pop ups, or visiting devious websites. The spyware will then run...

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