Faculty Publications


The evolutional view of the types of identity thefts and online frauds in the era of the Internet.

SelectedWorks Author Profiles:

Shun-Yung Kevin Wang

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As far back as the early 1990s, the Internet was argued to be a unique medium showing the fastest speed of diffusion in human history (Nguyen and Alexander, 1996). Today, there are very few people whose lives are not affected beneficially and/or harmfully by the technology of the Internet era. On the positive side, the ability to share and exchange information instantaneously has provided unprecedented benefits in the areas of education, commerce, entertainment and social interaction. On the negative side, it has created increasing opportunities for the commission of crimes – information technology has enabled potential offenders to commit large-scale crimes with almost no monetary cost and much lesser risk of being caught. Compared to perpetrators of traditional economic-motivated crimes (e.g., burglaries, larcenies, bank robberies), online fraudsters are relatively free of worry from directly encountering law enforcement and witnesses. The authors aim to examine identity theft from an analytic angle with a focus on the expanded versatilities of this contemporary crime. In the present article, the mechanism of identifying an individual is first discussed, followed by the definition and typology of identity theft. Elements and methods of identity theft will be deconstructed for classification, and subsequent discussions will be emphasized on recent variations in online fraud. The study will conclude with the implications of the close relations between identity theft and the fast growing Internet, and suggestions for improved means of identity protection.




New University Press