Identity Theft: Trends and Issues

Identity Theft: Trends and Issues. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Kristin Finklea. January 16, 2014.

Policymakers continue to be concerned with securing the economic health of the United States, including combating those crimes that threaten to undermine the nation’s financial stability. Identity theft, for one, poses both security and economic risks. An increase in globalization and a lack of cyber borders provide an environment ripe for identity thieves to operate from within the nation’s borders, as well as from beyond. Federal law enforcement is thus challenged with investigating criminals who may or may not be operating within U.S. borders; may have numerous identities, actual, stolen, or cyber; and may be acting alone or as part of a sophisticated criminal enterprise. In addition, identity theft is often interconnected with various other criminal activities. The report first provides a brief federal legislative history of identity theft laws. It analyzes selected trends in identity theft, including prevalent identity theft-related crimes, the federal agencies involved in combating identity theft, and the trends in identity theft complaints and prosecutions. The report also discusses the relationship between data breaches and identity theft as well as possible effects of the FTC’s Identity Theft Red Flags Rule. It also examines possible issues for Congress to consider.

[PDF format, 31 pages, 512.50 KB].

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