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Identity theft is among the largest problems experienced in our society today. It is an invisible and silent crime where someone unknown to you steals your personal information quietly without consent from the owner or that of the immediate authority with an aim of using it for their own financial gain. The victims of this theft undergo financial stress and later might experience emotional, physical and social stress as well depending on the kind of crime committed with the stolen information. This theft is a crime with lasting effect and the victims face lingering effects for some time after the identity theft and may even lead to involvement of the authorities and legal intervention.
Identity theft as the name suggests is a crime that involves someone’s identity being stolen quietly without being noticed by the victim or the immediate authority for financial gains. The thieves usually steal their victim’s personal information for use in financial transactions or for use in some criminal activities so as to prevent them from being linked to the crime and the victims on the other hand end up being linked or even paying for the crimes that they did not commit unless the investigators are able to prove that an identity theft was committed.
There are many types of identity theft; the most common ones are financial identity theft, criminal identity theft, driver’s license identity theft, medical identity theft, child identity theft, insurance identity theft. The impact of identity theft on the victims is adverse and may last for a long time and often takes a financial toll on them followed by the emotional, social and physical breakdown of the victims.
Negative effects of identity theft often involve finances, but there are consequences that the individual involved can face including socially, physically and even emotionally.
The financial effects are usually the first ones to be felt by the victims since most of the identity thefts are meant for financial gain of the thief and drain of the victim. The hardships experienced financially by the victim of identity theft may last for a long time with the time frame being months or even years after the victim’s personal and private information is exposed. If the identity theft involved an account takeover, the identity thieves might also take over the victim’s financial accounts and investments. The impacts of this could affect the victim’s mortgage, retirement and children’s education. If the identity theft issue becomes complicated it will require the victim to look for expert advice and by so doing the legal fees could be an addition to the financial impact. Sometimes the financial toll is so bad that some victims seek assistance from the government while they recover, this is an indicator of the potential magnitude of the hardship felt by the victim.
Secondly, identity theft can have a social impact on their victims in that one can be targeted through social media accounts once the identity thieves gain access to their victim’s personal information like the passwords to their email addresses or social media accounts. Whether one depends on social media for keeping in touch with family or friends or for marketing your products or advertising, the hackers could ruin one’s reputation and even put your job at risk if they gain access to their victims social media accounts as they may use that account or even open fraudulent accounts using your details and post illegal items while impersonating their victims. This can have lasting and dire consequences or impacts on the victim as this may lead to loss of jobs and even breakups in marriages and relationships not forgetting the stigma from the society at large.
Emotional impacts can also be felt by the victim in the long run. Even though the impact is less obvious, identity theft can trigger emotional reactions from the victim with anger being the first feeling after which other long term emotions follow. For instance if the identity theft involved a crime it can interfere with your job search as the criminal record in the background check done by employers may affect your employment opportunities and also feelings of self-worth.
Lastly, identity theft also impacts the victims physically in that one could be arrested if their personal information was found in a scene of crime. This can be a very stressful ordeal because it may take some time before one can clear their name plus the consequences of this can last for a long time. For instance the arrest records can affect your job search as they will always be seen during the background checks; one could lose their jobs due to the arrest records and even your home in case the credit mortgage is affected.
In conclusion, identity theft is a silent crime but with serious and long terms negative impacts on the victims. The negative impacts usually depend on the kind of identity theft that one is faced with. For instance if the identity theft was used in financial crimes then the victim tends to suffer financially and later on other impacts may follow or if the identity theft was targeting the victim’s social life then the victim will be affected socially and later the other impacts may follow. In addition the identity theft may be so serious to the extent of involving the authorities. Therefore identity theft being a crime as any other should be handled as such and dealt with plus measures put in place to deal with them in the near future.
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