The satirical cartoon above may appear funny, however, the popular Michelle Brown’s story proves how serious identity fraud is. Her life is never the same again after the traumatic event. She even exposed that the political system, at least during her time, failed to help her rise after the unsolicited nightmare. This essay examines the many and varied forms of fraud. Also, this paper explores the ways on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent activities.
Character identity theft or simply identity fraud is defined as the “misuse of personal identifying information to commit various types of financial fraud” (qt. in Etzioni 108-109). The term “identity theft” is a misnomer because one’s identity cannot literally be stolen. Identity fraud is an appropriate term to describe the misuse of a stolen personal data. However, the phrase “identity theft” has become a popular usage rather than identity fraud.
Identity theft is not a fraud at all even if someone stole or possessed other’s personal identifying information. A person cannot categorically be considered an identity theft merely for having the personal information of someone else. On the other hand, identity fraud occurs when someone steals other’s personal data and uses it for criminal acts. There must be an action taken for a crime such as identity fraud to actually happen.
Unlike the cartoon’s exaggeration, the identity thief is not literally taking off other’s face but rather stealing other’s personal data. The information that one fills up on the Biodata Form is the information that the identity thieves would likely steal. Identity thieves usually steal and misuse other person’s personal data, such as his or her name, address, driver’s license, credit cards, and the like (Etzioni 109; Jefson 373). These are basic personally identifying information that, when stolen and misused, leads to the victim’s nightmare.