According to the National Institute of Justice, no accepted definition of identity theft existed until Congress passed the Federal Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998. This statute defines identity theft very broadly, making it easier for prosecutors to conduct their cases. It is of little help to researchers, however, because a close examination reveals that identity theft is composed of a number of disparate types of crimes committed in widely varying venues and circumstances.
The majority of States have now passed identity theft legislation, but these statutes, while often similar, do not define identity theft consistently.
The difficulty in defining identity theft has been the biggest impediment to conducting scientific research on identity theft and interpreting the findings of that research. This is because a considerable number of different crimes may include the use or abuse of another’s identity or identity-related factors. Such crimes include:
- Check fraud
Plastic card fraud (credit cards, check cards, debit cards, phone cards, etc.)
Terrorism using false or stolen identities.
Theft of various kinds (pick pocketing, robbery, burglary, or mugging to obtain the victim’s personal information).
If you feel you are a victim of identity theft, please contact your local Police Department or Police Department where the identity theft took place as soon as possible. You should also contact each of the three major credit bureaus listed to report the identity theft. Please feel free to call the Littleton Police Department at 978-540-2300 and an Officer will try to answer any additional questions or concerns you may have.
Fraud Alert Services
TransUnion Fraud Alert
Attorney General Maura Healey’s Guide on Identity Theft for Victims and Consumers
The U.S. Department of Justice
National Institute of Justice
FTC Consumer Information Identity Theft
Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act