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Identity theft Essay

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Updated: May 29th, 2019

Identity theft is an act of stealing someone else’s identity with the intention of accessing resources or any other benefits that may come from using the victim’s name. People or even organizations can be faced with adverse consequences should they fall victims of these identity fraudsters.

Identifying the connection between the identity fraud and the data breeches is always a very hard task since it is never easy determining how the theft was executed. An unpublished study by Carnegie Mellon University affirms that in many cases, the reasons for identity theft are never identified but chances of falling victim to identity theft stands at around 2% (Michelle, 2000).

With the advent of technology, identity theft has been made even much easier to the fraudsters. Hackers now have access to very malicious software and applications. There even exists such application as ‘interested in credit card theft?’ This reveals the ease with which the identity thieves can access all sorts of information online.

An example of an identity theft is the case of Abraham Abdalla of Brooklyn, also known as the bus boy. He went online to access people’s private financial details. The victims included among the wealthiest people in America. He even had Oprah Winfrey’s and Steven Spielberg’s credit cards and financial information.

However, his days were numbered and he was caught while he was attempting to make one of the largest transactions. It was referred to as a software giant. This and a multitude of various other cases occur every other day.

How would you protect cooperate executives from fraudulent acts against them?

Cooperative executives are at a great risk of falling victims to identity theft. This is so majorly because of the largesse that they always hold in the form of personal and organizational resources. This may consequently lead to large and even irrecoverable personal and organizational losses.

Before coming up with ways and measures of curbing identity theft that may be targeted on the executives, it is necessary to identify the modes and means by which the theft may be executed. It is also very important to note that fraudsters begin by obtaining personal and confidential information of their victims. Thus, it is vital to note some of the ways in which personal identifiers may fall in the hands of the fraudsters.

In order to obtain the confidential information, the identity thieves may apply various acts. One of the acts include rummaging through rubbish at dumpsites to access dumped documents which could containing their target victim’s information or rather – in this case – the executive’s information. These are the so-called dumpster divers.

Redundant IT equipment may also serve as a rich source of information to the fraudsters. These equipments may include, amongst many others, storage media such as flash disks and other memory sticks, hard drives and mobile phones. All these equipments, when carelessly disposed of, may be the genesis of grave problems.

Identity thieves can also observe as someone types their login details in an attempt to log into their private sites in publicly situated IT devices such as computers or even ATMs. The identity thieves, in order to obtain confidential data, may also use sophisticated means such as the hand held card readers that are able to skim through and avail details from a credit card (Austin & Carr, 2002).

To retrieve confidential data online, the identity thieves can use spyware or even hack into computers and databases to obtain volumes of information. Certain software can be access by hackers and can even be used by amateur hackers to break into and retrieve information from their accomplices’ computers.

Additionally, the fraudsters can attack weak passwords and gain access into an executive’s details that are found online. The fraudsters do this through well-calculated guess works to crack weak passwords.

Therefore, the big question becomes, how can cooperate executives protect themselves and their organizations against the identity thieves? It is important to note that the fraudsters acquire personal information or rather personal identifiers through serious breaches (Neal, 2002).

It is also important to affirm that in most cases, it is as a result of an individual’s naivety or ignorance that the identity thieves find it easy to carry out their heinous acts. Ignorance and naivety may lead to mishandling of vital personal and even organizational details.

To avert this crime, the executives should avoid unnecessary introductions or identification of themselves at bogus avenues. This is basically known as risk avoidance (Johnson, 2006). There is need to be very cautious about IT systems that require or demand excess amounts of personal information such as national identification numbers or even social security numbers.

Electronic identity theft can be mitigated by maintaining computer security. An example includes fully patching the operating systems and thus protecting them from intrusion by security threats.

Computer systems’ security can also be fortified by running antivirus software to expel any malware or spyware that may be used by identity thieves to obtain information. Recently, there were insurance service providers who not only purport to protect against identity fraud but also to identify when an identity theft had occurred.

Some other basic measures to avert executives’ identity theft are to ensuring that all waste documents containing confidential information are shredded before they are dumped. All organizational networks should be completely secured. The executives’ computers, laptops or any other portable IT devices should be strongly encrypted to protect information in case the devices are stolen.

Measures to ensure that the identity-theft mitigation measures are upheld

From the above scenario, we can effectively learn that apart from the executive ensuring security of personal details, various other persons within an organizational setup also carry the role of upholding the organization and even the executives’ details security (Dick, 2006).

These persons may include office secretaries, the company IT persons, mobile phone service providers, and many other stakeholders. It is consequently important that an awareness program be carried out in order to educate these groups of individuals on how to work against identity fraud.

The education and awareness program would be carried out in the form of a workshop whereby all these groups of persons would be invited. The workshop would touch on issues such as appropriate paper and equipment dumping procedures, IT systems security, importance of risk avoidance and many other propositions.

In order to ensure that the proposed measures of averting identity fraud are upheld, it would be necessary to put everyone on toes. The departmental heads can effectively do this.

The departmental heads may in turn appoint monitors who would ensure that the agreed on steps are upheld and reports made on a daily or weekly basis. For example, it would be important to assign someone the job of ensuring that all waste paper and equipment are free of confidential information.

References

Austin, J., & Carr, J. (2000). Data Breaches and Identity Fraud. New York, NY: Context Press.

Dick, G. (2010). Fighting Personal Identity fraud. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Johnson, J. (2006). A Chronology of Data Breaches. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Michelle, M. (2000). Identity Theft: How to Protect and Restore Your Good Name. Field manual, 6(22), 1-216.

Neal, J. (2002). Guarding Cooperate Identity. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Identity theft." May 29, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/identity-theft/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Identity theft'. 29 May.

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