The 'Other' John Smith: Understanding Identity Theft Victimization Through Individual Experiences

John Kane, National White Collar Crime Center
Shawn Hutton, National White Collar Crime Center

ABSTRACT
Defining the societal impact of identity theft is difficult, in part because the victimization extends beyond an unauthorized credit card charge or forged check. Additional financial and emotional strain is incurred while the victim deals with creditors, debt collection agencies, and law enforcement groups in order to restore negative credit and criminal histories left in the wake of the offense. The difficult recovery is a function of the complex nature of the identity theft problem. However, the likelihood that an individual can restore normality to their lives rests on the abilities of law enforcement, consumer organizations, and private sector industries in providing assistance to identity theft victims. Using qualitative data from a series of six focus groups of identity theft victims, this presentation will explore the nature of this particular type of crime, and the subsequent recovery effort as victims navigate the criminal justice system in hopes of successful resolution.

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Updated 05/20/2006