An Online Guide to Identity Theft on the Internet
Criminal identity theft is a crime that occurs when an identity thief provides your identifying information, such as your name or driver’s license information, when asked to identify themselves by law enforcement.
Identity cloning goes beyond the theft and use of your information to full-on impersonation. The thief lives as if they are you, getting jobs and paying bills, buying homes or cars, or even getting married and starting a family, all in your name.
Business or commercial identity theft is when someone uses a business that is not theirs or they have no right to use to gain access to credit or to bill others for products and services.
Laws and Rules Relating to Identity Theft
Office for Victims of Crime: Identity Theft and Financial Fraud: Visit this informational page provided by the Office for Victims of Crime to learn about identity theft laws and regulations.
Identity Theft and Identity Fraud: In 1998, Congress passed a law prohibiting “knowingly transfer[ring] or us[ing], without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit or to aid or abet any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.”
Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 (PDF): Here, you can find a PDF version of the law put into place in 1998.
Identity Theft Prevention Act of 2009: This law was enacted in 2009 with the purpose of doing a better job protecting the integrity and confidentiality of Social Security numbers issued.
Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994: With the intention to better protect the privacy of individuals’ personal information, the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994 placed limits on the personal information maintained and used by state departments of motor vehicles.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 limits the disclosure of personal records maintained by educational institutions.
The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act: The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, better known as the Financial Services Modernization Act, requires financial institutions to have policies in place to protect against the sale of your private financial information.
The Red Flags Rule: The Red Flags Rule requires businesses to have identity theft prevention programs in place that pay close attention to possible threats to their day-to-day business.
Health Information Portability and Accountability Act: Personal medical information that could be used for identity theft is protected by this act of 1996.
Identity Theft: Locate specific state laws and penalties governing identity theft here.
Aggravated Identity Theft: Discover what it means to have committed aggravated identity theft by reading the laws here.
False Personation Law: When reading through identity theft laws, you are likely to see the term “false personation,” which is defined here.
Statement of Rights for Identity Theft Victims (PDF): Print and review this document that thoroughly spells out your rights as an identity theft victim and also provides many resources and tools for repairing the damage done.
FBI: Identity Theft: In 2004, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act was established, creating additional penalties for identity theft offenders.
Canadian Identity Theft and Identity Fraud: Just because you live in the United States doesn’t guarantee that the U.S. is the only place your identity can be stolen. Check out this Royal Canadian Mounted Police page to learn about how you can handle identity theft in Canada.
EU Legislation Directive 95/46/EC: Protection of Personal Data: Europe also has laws in place to protect you from identity theft.
Questions and Answers About Credit Card Fraud (PDF): View this brochure on credit card fraud and learn everything you need to know about the rules and protecting yourself.
State Credit Card Fraud Laws: Each state has different credit card fraud laws, and you can find your state laws here.
Understanding Credit Card Fraud: Credit card fraud is quite common, and it is important that you know what to do if you ever fall victim to this crime. Read this article and gain a clear understanding of what credit card fraud is and how to handle it.
Identity Theft and Phishing: Phishing is illegal and a major contributor to identity theft.
Cybersecurity Awareness: The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation does an excellent job explaining the basics of online awareness and how to avoid identity theft on this website.
Cybercrime Laws of the United States (PDF): This comprehensive list of cybercrime laws is a great resource for those researching their legal protections.
Computer Crime Laws: PBS works hard to educate the public, and with this engaging article, they continue their efforts by discussing computer crime laws.
Cybercrime: An Overview of the Federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Statute and Related Federal Crimes (PDF): Many identity thieves use a computer to gain access to your personal information, making their crimes cybercrimes. Read this document and gain an understanding of the laws about cybercrimes.
The American Bar Newsletter: Cybercrime and Identity Theft: Laws are always changing, and the American Bar Association does a nice job of updating people on the current laws regarding cybercrime and identity theft.
Resources for Identity Theft Victims
Report Identity Theft and Get a Plan: The Federal Trade Commission is here to guide you through reporting identity theft and help you with rectifying the situation.
Preventing Identity Theft: A Guide for Consumers (PDF): The National Crime Prevention Council has put together this printable guide to help readers not only prevent identity theft but handle a situation where they are now victims of these crimes.
Identity Theft Self-Help Guide (PDF): The Ohio Attorney General is dedicated to helping identity theft victims with tips useful to anyone who has fallen prey to this crime.
Identity Theft, Fraud, and Cybercrimes Victim Support: The state of Colorado is also prepared to help victims of identity theft and offers helpful information for all victims here.
Identity Theft Victim Checklist: This checklist is a great tool for any identity theft victim, as it lists everything you need to remember to do to clear up the mess left from being victimized.
ID Theft, Fraud, and Victims of Cybercrime: The National Cyber Security Alliance outlines what you need to know if you have been a victim of online crimes.
Fraud Victim Bill of Rights: TransUnion and the other credit bureaus are available to help if you have been a victim of identity theft.
Identity Theft Awareness: This resourceful website provides everything an identity theft victim needs, including a list of must-do items and preventive measures to take in the future.
11 Tips to Protect You From Identity Theft and Related Tax Fraud: Forbes offers many great ideas here for protecting yourself from identity theft, including using a free VPN and using strong passwords.
IRS Identity Theft Victim Assistance: How it Works: If you are a victim of identity theft or cloning, you may need to handle identity theft issues with the IRS. Visit the IRS website and learn how they can help you through the process of reclaiming your identity.
Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number (PDF): Read this brochure put out by the Social Security Administration and learn how you can deal with identity theft issues relating to your Social Security number.
Tech Safety Tips: There are multiple ways that you can become an online victim, and identity theft is just one. Learn how protect yourself from all forms of online abuse here.
Help for American Victims of Crime: If you become a victim of identity theft while traveling out of the country, reach out to the U.S. Department of State for help.
Annual Credit Report: One way to protect yourself from long-term identity theft is to monitor your credit. This website provides free access to annual credit report as an effort to help prevent identity theft.