Of all the types of crime and criminal conduct that are prevalent in contemporary society, online fraud and identity theft are perhaps the most bewildering. These are advanced and highly evolved crimes, and perpetrated with a level of remoteness and distance that provides both safety for the criminal and extreme consternation for those who are its victims. And yet for all of the intensive media coverage that has engulfed these modes of criminal activity in the latter part of the decade, they remain vague and incomplete with regards to their public perception.
Unsurprisingly, these types of crime have become more prominent annually since the turn of the century, with the levels of reported instances rising annually across almost every US state. The figures suggest that this issue is a national concern rather than one that is confined to particular geographical areas, which makes the crimes both harder to tackle for law enforcement bodies and also more difficult to analyze in terms of their cause and primary motivations.
Targeting the Primary Causes of Online Fraud and Identity Theft
One of the most significant tasks in tackling and overcoming a type of crime is first understanding its causes and subsequent consequences. For example, to understand violent crime then a government would assess where the crime is most prevalent and draw conclusions from their findings. So as violent crime and murder are most common amongst areas of society with high rates of poverty and unemployment, then it would be reasonable to identify these as primary causes, and implementing resolutions to solve these issues would have a positive impact on particular types of crime.
The widespread and technical nature of online fraud and identity associated crimes make this type of logical assessment process unsuitable, and this is for two core reasons. Firstly, where a mode of criminal behavior is not defined by a location or population demographic, then it does not have a specific type of victim, base or perpetrator. Secondly, crimes that are advanced in their structure and difficult to perform therefore create a more complex process of detection, which require similarly trained and specialized law enforcement agencies to understand their patterns.
A good example of the difficulties facing law enforcement bodies when attempting to resolve advanced fraudulent crimes can be drawn from examining relevant statistic. If you were to assess recently published figures from Washington and Alabama, then in effect you are evaluating two entirely diverse states of the US. This diversity applies to the demographic of citizens, their geographic locations and prevalent types of industry and revenue generation. Given the commercial and financial elements that subsist in Washington, it would be surprising to learn that Alabama recorded a rate of 245 instances per 100,000 of the population, whereas Washington only produced a level of 90 instances per 100,000 individuals.
Understanding the Consequences of Fraudulent Crime
The example of comparison figures between states is revealing in terms of the difficulties facing those who battle fraudulent crime. While it is a tough and ill defined process, it is possible to reduce the levels of this type of crime by considering a larger picture than the mere mechanics of deduction and capture. US citizens have a large role and duty to play in helping to reduce identity theft and fraud, as these crimes more than any other prey upon carelessness and poor vigilance of the average consumer.
For example, a key component of identity theft is the casual discarding and disposal of private documentation. Bank statements, credit card logs and other sensitive financial information are all significant causes that can allow an opportunist to steal an individuals identity and commit the most remote form of fraud. In this case, an individual themselves can take great strides to minimize the risk of falling victim to advanced identity crimes, by simply disposing of all personal documents securely or shredding them prior to removing as refuse.
The same ethos applies to online fraud and illegal use of another persons fund and assets. Although this differs to large instances of identity theft where sourced or forged documents is most likely to be used to source credit and financial loans, there still exist many similar trends in their operations. To avoid becoming victimized by online fraud, a citizen has a duty to keep their bank and credit cards safe and accounted for, as well as ensuring that their pin numbers or relevant passwords for online banking remain known only to themselves. Another wise course of action is to change these personal details regularly to assuage potential criminals.
Moving Forward and Beating Online Crime
It is an inevitable aspect of human nature that the vast resources of the Internet would eventually be manipulated by the machinations of criminals. This is merely a consequence of adaptability, as opportunist criminals use their cunning to develop new ways to steal and perpetrate crimes for gain. Understanding this is simple enough, but dealing with the problem directly is an altogether more complex and troublesome process, and made even more so by the technicalities of the specific crimes. To move forward and tackle crimes of a remote nature, US citizens are required to support their government and take their own precautions to minimize the risk towards themselves as an individual.