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Identity Theft: Scammers, Victims, Social Security Number (Research Paper Sample)


The paper should define identity theft, how it happens, how often it happens, how to prevent it and what to do once your identity has been compromised. Also discuss companies that can "help" you with stolen / mistaken identity


Identity Theft
Identity Theft
The personal data refers to information that belongs to a particular person. It is the desire and responsibility of every individual to ensure that their sensitive personal information is not publicly available. Cybercrime and financial crime are on the rise with the rapid advancement in informatics. The fastest growing financial crime at the moment, the world over is identity theft. Identity theft involves the use of a document identifying a person's identity, credit card, and Social Security Number to obtain an unfair pecuniary advantage. Identity theft is a quite uncomplicated crime. Criminals can use such sensitive information to steal from people’s bank accounts or defraud organizations. The following are ways in which the criminals can perpetrate the crime:
1. Using the stolen data (name, date of birth, social security number), the criminals can open new accounts and get credit cards which they will use in buying products (Anderson, 2013). All unpaid bills by the scammers will have to be repaid by their victims.
2. The scammers call the victim’s credit card issuer of a victim and under the guise of his or her name; they can change the mailing address of the account. Then the attackers begin to spend money from the victim’s account. However, the problem cannot be detected directly, since the account is sent to the new address.
3. The scammers can leverage collective hype. To win the confidence of their future victims, scammers can use their correct ethnic, age, religious, professional or another identity. Human beings will tend to trust people that they share common things with; a quality that scammers capitalize. Most fraud organizers are themselves members of a community who try to associate themselves with the community’s respected and authoritative members. There is the tendency of the targeted victims trusting members from the community which makes them even more susceptible to exploitation.
4. In particular, scammers have started to use the so-called “black box” in the activities. The device stores the visitors' credit card numbers which can be utilized in the city's shops and restaurants. The box data is used by hackers to manufacture counterfeit credit cards.
Backdoor virus classification is another form of identity theft. The Internet remains aaa very crucial tool for communication. However, cyber criminals have written malware and viruses that can be fed be downloaded into a person’s computer or network to steal vital personal information. Some of the malicious programs can circumvent security measures put in firewalls, sandboxes, and other mechanisms such the 2-Factor Authentication (Anderson, 2013). The backdoor virus is a program that gives an attacker unauthorized access to a computer and all the information therein without the use’s knowledge. This virus poses a threat to the integrity of the computer system by creating changes in the system that allow a hacker to get into it. The backdoor viruses create a vulnerability in the information systems targeted that allows the remote access of the computer to unauthorized access. Backdoor viruses are usually spyware programs which monitor actions of the users of a system before communication to the attackers via the network. Typically, such a spyware is secretly installed by viruses, worms, sometimes even malicious adware programs. Since a spyware works secretly, then it is sometimes impossible to discover it without the use of special anti-spyware programs.
The malware or the malevolent software is software created to attack individual personal computers and the network of computers. Malware attacks take different forms but usually end up damaging the system or compromising the overall integrity of data. Any malicious program that runs invisibly in the background is classified as a Trojan. The objective of some of them is the creation of a breach in the security of the computer system to make attacks easy. Trojan of the backdoor classification does not replicate itself like a worm. However, despite its nature of not replicating itself, the Trojan remains as harmful as a worm. The Trojan’s functions are: the opening, reading, and deleting of files; theft of passwords (Anderson, 2013). Any computer owner is a potential victim of a Trojan. Unless apt measures are put in place, any computer user is susceptible to Trojan attacks, especially in a network environment. Fortunately, many websites provide detailed guides on viruses and spyware before giving recommendations on how to avoid or deal with them. Anti-spyware vendors usually discuss the specific software code that allows for detection and removal of Trojans and viruses. However, regular users may only use unique anti-malware software, which will be sufficient to get rid of the virus of backdoor classification. Anyone who accesses the Internet ought to be aware of all risks of virus threats and must take steps to protect the PC and valuable information that can be stored on it.
Spyware has skyrocketed with the current intensification of online activity especially about communication and e-commerce. Unlike viruses, spyware is difficult to detect and instead of destroying files, as viruses, spyware collects and sends to a third party without the user's knowledge all the information about their browsing patterns, use of the Internet and other relevant details (Anderson, 2013). The greatest danger of spyware is that it can collect personal information: credit card numbers, social security number, and bank account numbers to be used in cyber-theft. Many spyware programs enter the browser settings, thus providing the hackers access to user options for the Internet. Such an attack is known as a man-in-the-middle attack. The hacker copies e-mail addresses, passwords, and address books resulting in the theft of confidential information, which the user may not even realize.
Active control of spyware is only possible through the installation of an efficient destroyer of spyware, which can recognize, remove existing spyware, and prevent future attacks. Since the spyware is smuggled into the system through online advertising or pop-up windows without the user's knowledge, they are incredibly difficult to detect. The only solution to this problem might be the installation of special anti-spyware programs. The attempt to remove the spyware can be unsuccessful, even if the activity was to be conducted by a professional. Antispyware programs that are specifically created as spyware killers are the apt way to resolve the problem. However, the Internet user must not forget about the precautions to be observed during web surfing, and one should avoid downloading free software from unknown or untrusted vendors. It is important to make sure that the program that people want to download does not contain malicious advertising and also there is a need to read carefully and understand the license agreement of the software before installing it.
Antispyware programs deal with the spyware in two different ways: 1) some programs permanently protect the computer from installing the spyware. As long as people are accessing Internet sites, the program scans all incoming and outgoing signals to prevent penetration of malware onto the computer. It blocks all suspicious processes. 2) Other programs try to find all spyware that might already be installed on the computer. A person can set up a schedule of audits to ensure that at no given moment are spyware installed on their computer.
Nowadays, there are numerous studies in the field of information security targeting such offenses as identity theft, to ensure a higher level of security of personal data of people in the future. The PandaLabs laboratory, which is a part of Panda Security Company, recently announced multiple increases in the number of thefts of personal information with the use of malicious software (Holt et al., 2015). The growing number of such cases as of the year 2012, for example, was about 600%. According to the estimates of research carried by PandaLabs, about 71% of the 35 thousand new viruses that were found in 2012 were designed to steal such sensitive information as credit card numbers, number, and password to bank accounts, as well as input parameters to the sites of the various financial institutions. The experts believe that such a rapid growth of malicious activity can be linked to the global economic crisis (Holt et al., 2015). The harsh economic times have made criminals look for new ways to make a profit, including the illegal sale of stolen credit card numbers and accounts in payment systems and e-commerce systems. A substantial part of the rapid flow of malicious programs that attempt to steal financial and other personal information penetrates computers through social networks. According to some expert estimates, the global market for stolen accounts reached a volume of several trillion dollars.
Identity theft and the impersonation of names has become truly epidemic in the United States. Over the past five years, 27 million and 300 thousand Americans have been victims of such crimes. In 2014, the number of victims who have had to pay for unauthorized financial activities, perfect behind them, reached 18 million (Blakeley, 2015). Thus, each 1 in 14 Americans becomes a victim of a fraud. In the United States, there are laws under which victims of such crimes do not pay the full value of the damage. However, they still have to pay a certain percentage of their money, which is determined by rules set by financial institutions about cyber-fraud. In 2014, the affected companies paid out of their pocket an average of $4800, individuals paid $500. Total losses of commercial structures were $48...
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