Study Looks Inside the Minds of Identity Thieves

March 3, 2009

( -- The Federal Trade Commission recently asked a UT Dallas criminology researcher for help understanding what motivates identity thieves.

Dr. Lynne Vieraitis, an associate professor of criminology in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences, had interviewed federal inmates who have been incarcerated for identity theft and related crimes to better understand how these thieves operate.

She presented her findings at a recent FTC Fraud Forum in Washington, D.C.

Vieraitis joined Dr. Heith Copes, associate professor in the Department of Justice Sciences at the University of Alabama Birmingham, to conduct the research.

Her presentation for the FTC, “The Motivations and Lifestyles of Identity Thieves,” addressed why offenders engage in identity theft, the justifications they provide to avoid guilt and stigma, and their perceptions of the risks associated with their crimes.

The forum was designed to look at how the FTC can more efficiently guard consumers from fraudulent schemes.

The first day was open to the public as law enforcement, consumer advocates, business representatives and academics examined the extent of fraud in the economy, the drivers, the segments of the population at greatest risk and best practices in industry.

On the second day of the forum, domestic and international law enforcement officials were invited to discuss strategies to improve interagency efforts in the battle against consumer fraud.

“It was a tremendous honor to be invited by the Federal Trade Commission to present our research on identity thieves. This forum provided an valuable opportunity for law enforcement, victim advocates, industry representatives and academics to meet and share information on fraudsters, their crimes, and their victims.”

Provided by University of Texas at Dallas

Explore further: Experian says 15M have info stolen in hack of T-Mobile data (Update)

Related Stories

The high price of data breaches

November 26, 2011

As consumers, we transmit valuable personal information to the companies with which we do business. In doing so, we trust that information will remain secure. Over the past year, however, we have learned of a number of instances ...

Thieves got into 1,000 StubHub accounts

July 23, 2014

(AP)—Cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 StubHub customers' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events through the online ticket reseller, a law enforcement official and the company said.

Franchises on guard against data thieves

February 28, 2013

Every day Hardee's franchisee Todd Pahl is on the lookout for a predator he can't see. It's not lurking in the crevices along the baseboard or slinking just beyond the range of cameras. This danger hides behind the infinite ...

Recommended for you

Biologists trace how human innovation impacts tool evolution

November 24, 2015

Many animals exhibit learned behaviors, but humans are unique in their capacity to build on existing knowledge to make new innovations. Understanding the patterns of how new generations of tools emerged in prehistoric societies, ...

First Londoners were multi-ethnic mix: museum

November 23, 2015

A DNA analysis of four ancient Roman skeletons found in London shows the first inhabitants of the city were a multi-ethnic mix similar to contemporary Londoners, the Museum of London said on Monday.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.