IELTS Essay # Identity theft is increasing
In many countries, financial crime involving identity theft is increasing. What are the causes of this trend, and what effect does identity theft have on the victims involved? Give reasons for your answer, and provide ideas and examples from your own experience.
You should spend about 40 minutes on this question. You should write at least 250 words.
There is no doubt that identity fraud is a great concern, especially in western countries where people are most at risk. I think there are two main causes, and a number of damaging effects.
Firstly, the major cause is probably the almost universal use of digital technology to store financial data and undertake financial transactions. It is surprisingly easy for criminals to obtain personal information about a possible victim and then to use this information to impersonate the target. Because bank accounts and loans can be applied for digitally, without the need for face-to-face contact, the criminals are able to apply for financial products remotely, often before the victim is even aware of the attack. The second key cause is, the increasing probability of ‘traditional’ crimes (such as armed robbery, mugging or burglary) being detected. When criminals see the widespread use of CCTV, DNA profiling and fingerprinting, they are less inclined to indulge in such old-fashioned crimes. Rather, they prefer the lower risk and more profitable use of data-based crimes.
The effects on the unfortunate victims can be quite devastating. Firstly, there is the loss of money from bank accounts or by being connected to a fraudulent loan. In some cases, this can take years for the victim to pay back or resolve with the banks and the authorities. Secondly, there is the damage to their credit rating, which means they may find it impossible to obtain legitimate credit in future. In extreme cases, people’s employment prospects can even be damaged as well, as they find themselves considered as a financial risk.
Overall, the presence of technology and the decline of ‘traditional’ crimes are the key causes behind this trend. The effects on the victims involve long-term financial hardship in many instances. (292 Words)