Identity theft emerged almost simultaneously to the dawning of the Credit Card Age. Not only was there a rise in fraud and ID theft, but a totally different consciousness regarding money and how it is spent (Manning 2000). Originally called charge plates, Credit Cards are one of the most vulnerable areas of ID theft. (History of Credit 2008) now, several levels of security are in place to help prevent the online use of stolen credit card numbers such as require special ID codes and answers to security questions. Services also evolved in response to merchants’ efforts to minimize the damage stolen cards would cost their customers (Holmes, 2007).
Electronic Fund Transfers (EFT’ s) posed another potential risk, and an entire set of regulatory rules governing those agreements became necessary for protection against the risk of fraud and theft in the virtual banking environment. This is not to say that merchants did not also involve themselves in identity theft scams, particularly where there was no physical presence. Negligent Enablement implicated liability of merchants indirect exchange with thieves who establish bogus accounts under the assumed name of the customer.
Many businesses refuse to take any action on the victim’ s behalf. (Howard, 2005) Joint-liability for fraudulent transactions including multiple parties has the potential to result in high compensatory damages if tortfeasor grievances are substantiated. Numerous legal matters directed at corporate involvement, whether surreptitiously or without knowledge, have resulted in responsibility for the inaction toward ascertaining the true identity of their customers, as well as assisting a victim of Identity theft with adequate resolutions and remedies. Similar complaints directed at government offices are not sustained, due to federal laws of immunity, but the threat to consumers is substantial, nonetheless, and does not negate obligation by state actors to testify on behalf of the plaintiff.
There are several fronts that need to be addressed when attempting to prevent and/or prosecute Identity Theft. Efforts by businesses to update security have become an incumbent aspect of trade relations.
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