Capable guardianship against identity theft. Demographic insights based on a national sample of US adults

Author:Norah Ylang
Position:School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University, Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Pages:130-142
SUMMARY

Purpose This paper aims to examine demographic differences between individuals who do not take measures to protect themselves from identity theft victimization and those who do. A majority of the research on identity theft has focused on predictors of victimization, reporting behaviors of the victims and their health and mental outcomes. However, little remains known about the individuals... (see full summary)

 
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Capable guardianship against
identity theft
Demographic insights based on a national
sample of US adults
Norah Ylang
School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University,
Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Abstract
Purpose This paper aims to examine demographic differences between individuals who do not take
measures to protectthemselves from identity theft victimization and thosewho do. A majority of the research
on identity thefthas focused on predictors of victimization, reporting behaviorsof the victims and their health
and mental outcomes.However, little remains known about the individuals whochoose to take any identity-
theft measuresdespite concerns over this fast-growingbreed of crime.
Design/methodology/approach Guided by Felson and Cohens routine activities theoretical
framework (1979), this study uses the 2014 Identity Theft Supplement of the National Crime Victimization
Survey to identify the demographic characteristics that inuence the use of self-protection measuresamong
individualsin the general population.
Findings This study nds that these individuals are much more likely to be white, older, female and
highly educated. The decision to undertake protection against identity theft is also inuenced by the
following factors: prior experience of misuse, possession of a bank account in the prior 12 months,
current possession of at least one credit card and awarenessthatoneisentitledtoafreecopyofones
credit report.
Originality/value This study addresses the gap in scholarshipon identity theft prevention by applying
the concept of guardianshipin Cohen and Felsons routine activity theory(1979) to the usage of self-protection
measures in a general population.Future ndings will identify the areas which agencies and researcherscan
focus on to inform policies that foster individualsown initiatives to take self-protection measures against
potentialidentity theft.
Keywords Routine activity theory, Identity theft, Capable guardianship, General population,
Protective measures
Paper type Research paper
Introduction
Identity theft has receivedincreasing media attention in recent history and has been labeled
as one of the fasting growing crimes in the USA (Piquero et al., 2011).Although framed as a
cybercrime, the majority of methods used by its perpetrators are surprisingly simple, such
as dumpster-diving for intact personal documents (Newman, 2008;Copes and Vieraitis,
2009a). Simple methods by identity theft perpetrators also mean that individuals can take
The author thanks Kristy Holtfreter for her constructive feedback on earlier versions of this paper. A
previous version of this article received the 2018 Outstanding Student Paper Award from the
American Society of Criminologys Division of White-Collar and Corporate Crime. Correspondence
concerning this article should be addressed to Norah Ylang, School of Criminology and Criminal
Justice, Arizona State University, 411 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ, 85004.
JFC
27,1
130
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.27 No. 1, 2020
pp. 130-142
© Emerald Publishing Limited
1359-0790
DOI 10.1108/JFC-12-2018-0140
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
https://www.emerald.com/insight/1359-0790.htm

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