Identity Theft

Introduction
Definition of Identity Theft – Alberta Government Consumer Tipsheet 

Identity theft is when someone uses your name and personal information to commit fraud or theft. 

Personal information includes your:

  • name
  • age
  • address
  • gender
  • birthday
  • credit card numbers
  • SIN number
  • marital status
  • mother’s maiden name
  • spouse’s name
  • family birthdays
  • city of birth
  • phone number
  • employment
  • income
  • health records
  • assets
  • liabilities
  • other personal identification numbers such as an employee number 

Background 

Identity theft is not a new crime; it was simply not called such and was not as prevalent.[1] It has now mushroomed in pervasiveness. 

Why is it more common now?

  • An extremely low risk of detection and, comparatively, an extremely high return.[2]
  • Very low arrest and conviction rates for identity-theft related crimes.[3]
  • Mild sentences for identity theft related convictions.[4]
  • The abundance of personal information available.[5]
  • Technological advancement[6]
    • In the even recent past, identity theft took more time and effort to commit, and as such, was less common.[7]
    • Now, new, quicker and more pervasive methods of identity theft have appeared as a result of technology.
    • It is also now harder to track criminals, due to the Internet’s inherent anonymity and global nature.
  • Consumer unawareness of what is done with their personal information.[8]

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