What are the Motives

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What are the Motives

The Department of Justice has found that there are two primary motives for identity crimes: financial gain and concealment. Graeme R. Newman created the chart below to show the relationship of these two motives to different types of identity crimes.8 Additionally, Newman’s chart shows that identity crimes can also often be categorized as organized or opportunistic.

Financial Gain Concealment
High commitment [lots of planning]

Organized. A fraud ring systematically steals personal information and uses it to generate bank accounts, obtain credit cards, etc.

Individual. The offender sets up a look-alike Internet Web site for a major company and spams consumers luring them to the site by saying their account information is needed to clear up a serious problem, steals the personal/financial information the consumer provides and uses it to commit identity theft.

Organized. Terrorists obtain false visas and passports to avoid being traced after committing terrorist acts.

Individual. The offender assumes another’s name to cover up past crimes and avoid capture over many years.

Low commitment [little planning, opportunistic] An apartment manager uses personal information from rental applications to open credit card accounts. The offender uses another’s name and ID when stopped or arrested by police.

8 Newman, Graeme. "The Problem of Identity Theft." Identity Theft Guide No. 24(2004) 1. 28 Jul 2008 http://www.popcenter.org/problems/identity_theft.

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What are the Motives

The Department of Justice has found that there are two primary motives for identity crimes: financial gain and concealment. Graeme R. Newman created the chart below to show the relationship of these two motives to different types of identity crimes.8 Additionally, Newman’s chart shows that identity crimes can also often be categorized as organized or opportunistic.

Financial Gain Concealment
High commitment [lots of planning]

Organized. A fraud ring systematically steals personal information and uses it to generate bank accounts, obtain credit cards, etc.

Individual. The offender sets up a look-alike Internet Web site for a major company and spams consumers luring them to the site by saying their account information is needed to clear up a serious problem, steals the personal/financial information the consumer provides and uses it to commit identity theft.

Organized. Terrorists obtain false visas and passports to avoid being traced after committing terrorist acts.

Individual. The offender assumes another’s name to cover up past crimes and avoid capture over many years.

Low commitment [little planning, opportunistic] An apartment manager uses personal information from rental applications to open credit card accounts. The offender uses another’s name and ID when stopped or arrested by police.

8 Newman, Graeme. "The Problem of Identity Theft." Identity Theft Guide No. 24(2004) 1. 28 Jul 2008 http://www.popcenter.org/problems/identity_theft.