lawyers in India

Identity Theft

Written by: Pulkit Tare - currently pursuing 3rd year of B.S.L, LL.B from D.E.S. Law College, Pune
Cyber Law in India
Legal Service
  • Almost everyone knows someone has been a Victim. But, there's still an attitude that somehow it always happens to the other guy. But, what if you are the other guy?

    All across India, the fastest growing White Collar Crime in the nation has been identified as Identity Theft- and its affecting each one of us in insidious ways.
    We have all heard of the problem, but only few have recognized the theft of the identity can be so devastating.

    Identity Theft as a term refers to Fraud that involves stealing money or getting other benefits by pretending to be someone else. The term is relatively new and is actually a misnomer, since it is not inherently possible to steal an identity, only to use it. The person whose identity is used can suffer various consequences when they are held responsible for the perpetrator's actions.

    Elaborately, Identity Theft can be basically of four types:

    # Financial identity theft (using another's identity to obtain goods and services)
    # Criminal identity theft (posing as another when apprehended for a crime)
    # Identity cloning (using another's information to assume his or her identity in daily life)
    # Business/Commercial identity theft (using another's business name to obtain credit)

    Identity Theft can occur as casually as on such Social Networking sites like Orkut and Face book which encourages one to reveal ones Personal Information in order to have a so called Celebrity Status, but anyone who hates your guts can tarnish your personal information and can ruin your public image. Identity Theft can also be used to faciliate crimes like Illegal Immigration , Terrorism and Espionage, further it can also be used as a tool for Blackmail.There have also been cases on Identity Cloning so as to attack the Payment Systems , Online Credit Card Processning , Online Banking (well known Axis Bank Website Replica Case)

    Some Common Proficiencies for obtaining such Information:

    # Stealing Mails.
    # Retriving Information from Computer servers that have been disposed off carelessly.
    # Researching information about the person from Government Registers, Internet Search Engines or Public Records .
    # Retriving Information from Social Networking Webites (Orkut , Face book , My Space etc )
    # Stealing Personal or Payment Identity cards through Pickpocketing etc.
    # Stealing information in Computer Databases (Trojan Horses, Hacking)
    # Advertising Bogus Job Offers.

    Today the number of person engaging in transactions through the use of Internet in India are increasing at an alarming rate and so are these Crimes. According to NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau) the percentage of Cyber Crimes accounted around 65% but the actual number prove to be elusive considering the fact that most of such cases go unreported.

    Government needs to take serious measures in order to regulate such offences in India and should take an initiative so as to differentiate it from Cyber Crimes and do not confuse the term Identity Theft with Cyber Crimes only as this Identity Theft is more or less directly an outright daylight Robbery as the identity is being stolen and sold to crooks for a few sprinkle of dollars, pounds or euros that has nothing to do with cyber crimes and subsequently the outsourcing firms are facing devastating consequences as Indian professionals have built for themselves an enviable global reputation through hard work, dedication and commitment and the occasional misguided acts of such individuals should not be allowed to hamper the high reputation of all professionals. These criminals are greedy – they are not high tech thieves and most of them are not aware of techniques like hacking the cyber systems. They just make the actual access to computer files and steal them in front of every one.

    Though Government is taking certain measures to ensure the rights of the individuals to be protected and has made ceratin proposals for Amendment of the IT Act , 2000 and has also recommended the inclusion of two new sections into the IPC-147A (punish cheating by using any unique identification feature of any other person with up to three years imprisonment and a fine) and Section 419A (punish cheating by impersonating using a network or computer resource with up to five years imprisonment and a fine) , but the Organizations and the Individuals are not very much looking forward for the Amendment of the IT Act , 2000 , they are more concerned about strict enforcement of the present Act.

    Indian Laws governing electronic commerce and data security are not very complex and what is needed is the actual and strict enforcement of these laws.

    The author can be reached at: [email protected] / Print This Article

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