Counteracting Identity Fraud in the Information Age: The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act
The advent of the information age has created new challenges to the ability of individuals to protect the privacy and security of their personal information. One such challenge is that of identity theft, which has imposed countless hardships upon its victims. Perpetrators of this fraud use the identities of others to steal money, obtain loans, and generally violate the law. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998 makes the theft of personal information with the intent to commit an unlawful act a federal crime in the United States with penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000. The Act designates the Federal Trade Commission to serve as an advocate for victims of identity fraud. This article first examines the problem of identity fraud and the inadequacy of existing remedies, and then assesses the need for and likely impact of the Act, as well as issues relating to the effectiveness of its future enforcement.