Defining Identity Theft

With modern technology, identity theft has become easier to commit by the minute. Identity theft refers to when someone uses someone else’s personal identifying information such as their name, social security number, checking routing number, or their credit card number, without their consent with the intention to commit fraud or any other crime.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), approximately 9 million Americans have their identities stolen each year. Often times the victim is not aware they are the victim of identity theft until months or years afterwards, when their credit and their reputation have already been damaged.

Identity theft thieves use other people’s identifying information to commit a broad range of crimes. They may use the information to rent an apartment, obtain a credit card or checking account, or establish a cell phone or cable account in the victim’s name. The victim doesn’t usually find out they have been a victim of identity theft until it’s too late, or until they have been contacted by a creditor.

Identity theft begins when the thief acquires personal identifying information such as another person’s social security number, driver’s license number, or credit card. It doesn’t matter if the victim is dead or alive; it’s still a criminal offense and is prosecuted to the full extent of the law when the perpetrator is caught. Personal information can be illegally acquired in a variety of ways including:

Skimming – This occurs when a special devise is used to steal a credit or debit card number when processing the person’s card.

Changing the Victim’s Address – The person changes the victim’s address by mailing in a change of address form. As a result, the billing statements are diverted to another location.

Theft – This is the oldest type of theft in the book. This refers to stealing the victim’s purse, or wallet, pre-approved credit card offers, new checks or other tax information.

Dumpster Diving – This refers to rummaging through someone’s trash to find bills, bank statements, voided checks etc. with identifying information on them.

Phishing – The thieves pretend to be a financial institution such as the victim’s bank, or a credit card company and send spam to try and get the person to reveal their social security number or bank account information etc.

Pretexting – The thief uses false pretenses to obtain personal information from a bank, credit card company, telephone company and other sources.

Identity theft is taking very seriously in all fifty states. In Washington, there are two levels of identity theft. How they are prosecuted depends upon value of the credit, money, goods, or services that were taken. If the value of the goods or services etc. obtained through someone else’s identity were valued more than $1500, it is prosecuted as a Class B felony. For any goods or services obtained below the value of $1500, it is prosecuted as a Class C felony and the penalties range from up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine up to $20,000, or both. If you have been charged with identity theft, it’s critical to enlist the services of an aggressive defense attorney as early as possible. An attorney will be able to investigate every aspect of your case and negotiate with the prosecutor, the judge, or jury on your behalf when it comes to sentencing.

We Think, Therefore We Commit Crimes

People think, therefore they commit actions of choice. Criminals think, therefore they commit crimes. This is not a very complicated notion, or is it a new concept. What becomes complicated are the processes and actions that follow, coupled with academic attempts to explain the subsequent acts. In very broad general terms, criminal behavior can be formatted and analyzed from the assessment of crime scene, but not to a point of perfection. Assessment, profiling or whatever you want to call it, is no more and no less just another tool for law enforcement. Just like lifting fingerprints, interviewing witnesses, or gathering other physical evidence, criminal behavior assessment is basically guesswork. Human behavior is not subject to strict codification or precise parameters by which exact measures can be deduced. Probabilities can be asserted along a continuum, whereby we can understand the thinking processes of criminals to the junction of potential prediction, but not absolute prediction. This is predicated, of course, on the assumption that certain elements exist within the known environment by which such predictions can be based. It is frequently suggested that criminals form pre-crime thoughts in an effort to individually and collectively carry out their criminal behavior intentions. Interdicting at this point in time would be unique and advantageous from a law enforcement perspective.

Motivations or personal agendas so to speak, set the stage for intentional selection for results that are either good or evil. Evil is the darkness of the human mind that fosters all manner of opposition to the positive and productive aspects of life. It is life negation in contrast to life affirmation. Conscious or subconscious thoughts take relevance and manifest themselves into real levels of expression with a significant probability of repetition. Thinking processes are the foundation of potential criminal behavior. People can be inspired by their thoughts for doing both good and evil. The pursuit of certain thoughts is grounds for criminal activity. People are a dichotomous expression of being on the one hand selfish, self-indulgent and self-centered in nature, yet also law-abiding, decent and considerate on the other. From an investigative standpoint, one can never underestimate the depravity of human beings. Human nature is not to be trusted to an absolute sense in all situations, under all varieties of conditions. Yet, everyone is still ultimately accountable and responsible for his or her actions, regardless of station or position in a given socio-economic context. Of course, some would use their status to place themselves above the lawful necessity of accountability and responsibility. And, as a result of one thinking that he or she can make choices contrary to accepted legal policy or social acceptance, criminal behavior becomes probable.

Criminal actions are probable due to personal decision-making. Such actions devolve toward personal choices associated with power and control issues. Criminals basically commit crimes because that is what they want to do. A person’s code of morality is influenced by philosophical fallacies of belief. This affects the thinking process. People basically do stupid things. The depravity of behavior is most likely unfathomable to most people. Criminals think before they act. The thoughts are there long before the event takes place. Thinking becomes the basis to rationalize the behavior and ultimately blame the behavior on someone or something else. So, crime analysis is probably more descriptive of the actions.

The formulation of criminal plans (thinking processes) begins with the thought of doing the acts upon which one desires. Plans to do harm are not sudden and impulsive. They occur over a distinct period of time in the brain, or “mind”, of the thinker. And, there is a high probability that since we are biologically oriented individual, our sexual drives and desires may influence our decision-making (choice we make) in terms of the crimes we commit and additions we create.

The thought processes emerge in some behavioral aspect, such as physically, verbally, and nonverbally, as well as symbolic behavior. Outward behavior is indicative of the inner thoughts of the person. Interpersonal communication is one of the keys to dealing with aspects of criminal behavior. People in general use various forms of communication to suggest their feelings, value system, lifestyle, attitude and thoughts. From tattoos to bumper stickers, to physical gestures and slogans, people, and in particular criminals, reveal indications of one sort or another as to their inclinations. Physical being is an expression of presence and that presence translates into wants and presumed needs. Whether by word, symbol or deed, the inner thoughts surface and become the outer actions of mind over matter so to speak. And, sometimes these outer actions become anti-social in nature. There is a deliberate desire to do the thing contemplated, whether the thoughts are short-term or long-term in transformation. Thinking is doing, acting, believing and experiencing. Various acts of criminal behavior range from the simple to the complex, depending on the linkage between thought and action, as well as the sophistication of the criminal. For instance, the amount of physical expression required for a particular act of deviance is related to the ability, skill and desire of the criminal. Opportunity is a given factor. From thought to action, the criminal is always looking for opportunistic forms of expression. Desire, opportunity and ability mix together in order that the desired action is executed. The “evil”, as a concept of human behavior, concerns the malevolent things that people do to others. It reflects the inner composition of the human being. The connectivity evolves around the compendium of crime analysis and criminal behavior assessment.

It is associated with the ideation of preemptive actions toward the outer world, while one struggles with the inner world. Whether making bombs and blowing up buildings, robbing banks and raping people, the thinking facilitates the transformation into the criminal behavior. Evil opposes life and seeks to kill or otherwise destroy life. Acting out the actions is indicative of the internal “warfare” within the imperfect structure of human nature. As such, “evil” is human nature, and reflects the various personifications and proclivities down through history. No matter what the reason or suggested excuse, aberrant behavior begins with the individuals and then extends outward into the community of people. Whether minor or major, everyone commits some act of deviance against another. Such acts may be symbolic, verbally expressive or physical in actuality. The behavior may be overt or covert depending on the individual tendencies and preferences. Evil is characteristic of the state of human beings and the nature of their ongoing quest to fulfill selfish endeavors. This means others must suffer the consequences of what criminals do. Criminal activities extend from the human passion for adverse self-indulgent needs.

The transmutation of the thought processes are continually structured around personal intentions, some evil and some good. Compulsion to action generally reflects aspects of the personality, which typically favor the inclination to leave a “signature” upon one’s behavior. As such, the various patterns of behavior are built upon a foundation of prior thought and consideration. Regardless of the socio-economic circumstances, criminals postulate their criminal intentions through their own framework of ideation. Committing acts of evil are from within the person and subsequently carried out in acts of violence, theft, cheating, and a host of deceptive behaviors.

Analysis and assessment are essential in developing crime prevention and interdiction efforts to prevent or identifying criminal actions. All human beings are potentially evil (i.e. prone to criminal behavior) and have the capacity for the commission of hideous acts of aberrant behavior. The only difference between the so called “law abiding citizen” and the criminal, is the “law abiding citizen” controls their criminal inclination. When we so often speak of “what a nice person he was”, or “she wouldn’t hurt anyone”, how do we really know? What scale of perception do we use to assess the inner workings of person’s mind, which we can see or measure by normal means. How do we really know who a person is by looking from the outside?

Since there are at least two versions of every person’s personality and behavior extensions, one private and one public, what do we really know about the people? For that matter, it is even more complex to suggest we know something about people we don’t know. Analysis, study and assessment are essential in laying the foundation for more definitive answers. Crime prevention through proactive intervention strategies is the main objective of this focus. By attempting to identify the basic ingredients in criminal activity and behavior, the mission is to interdict where possible, as well as identify and apprehend the criminal to every extent feasible. Law enforcement personnel want to stop the criminal before he or she commits the crime. If that fails, then the law enforcement practitioners want to solve the case in the most expedient manner possible.

Listening to convicted criminals serving time in facilities may not be the most efficient way to go about developing proactive strategies for crime prevention purposes. In most cases, criminals will tell you whatever you want to hear in order to satisfy their self-serving needs. For this reason, criminal behavior studies may be significantly flawed due to the deception and manipulation that most criminals act out on a regular basis. And, given the gullible and often na├»ve nature of many researchers, the problem of data reliability is even more seriously affected. One must ponder the overall validity of information obtained from people who spend their lives deceiving others, making up their own rules and scapegoating at every opportunity. Self-serving, clever and deceptive, criminals will seek to justify every aspect of their behavior. Their actions will be rationalized to the extent necessary to shift focus from them to someone else. Criminals are very good at transferring blame from themselves to something or someone else. They typically will assert that they are the victims and the real victim is actually the cause of the criminal’s suffering. Their thinking processes should be of more interest than their environment, personal history or socio-economic surroundings.

Criminal Justice Schools

The demand for law enforcement offices and detectives is projected to increase by 10% in the coming eight years and, in turn, salaries are expected to increase as well. These are valid reasons for pursuing higher education that can guarantee you a well paid job in this government sector. All you have to do is to select between the different types of criminal justice schools. This guide will help you with this.

You can study this discipline in a community college, a career college or a vocational school to earn an associate’s degree in it. The training usually lasts 2 years during which you learn the fundamentals of criminal justice. You will study all of the main subjects of this discipline such as criminology, psychology, law, social studies and political science. Individuals with an associate’s degree in this discipline from such criminal justice schools can find well-paid jobs as police officers and sheriffs. The average annual salary of a person with such a degree working in the criminal justice system is around $48,000.

Schools, such as liberal arts colleges and universities, also offer this discipline. These schools offer bachelor’s degree programs and master’s degree programs. It is true that such training is longer and costlier. However, you will rip greater benefits from it. Individuals with a bachelor’s degree in this discipline can find jobs as detectives, deputy sheriffs, wardens and even as Secret Service agents. The average salary you can expect to earn with such a degree is around $67,000 a year.

If you have both master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in this discipline, you will have the opportunity to find a job even at the FBI. The annual job income of individuals with a master’s degree can reach $100,000, depending on the position they are taking.

All criminal justice schools offer traditional programs. The classes take place on campus during the day. However, since many people working in the criminal justice system want to advance in their profession, the number of more flexible programs has increased considerably. It is now possible for trainees to sign up for evening classes or for weekend classes. Such a program will allow you to go to work during the day and to keep your current income to support your family as well as your education.

Now you can enroll in an online program as well. You can earn an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or master’s degree online through one of the schools offering such programs. It should be pointed out that even though some of educational institutions offering such courses are operating entirely online, there are also traditional colleges and universities that offer such a training option to their students. Signing up for an online program gives you greater flexibility. You will be able to study when you want and for how long you want. At the same time, you will have access to instructors as well as to learning resources.

You can readily choose between the different types of justice schools. Consider all of the pros and cons for each option.

The American Criminal Justice System

The process of American criminal justice is a system with three major components: police, courts, and corrections. However, such a viewpoint is useful primarily for the reduction in complexity it provides. A more realistic approach to criminal justice may be the nonsystem approach. As a nonsystem, criminal justice is depicted as a fragmented activity in which individuals and agencies within the process have interests and goals that at times coincide but often conflict.

Defendants processed by the justice system come into contact with numerous workers whose duty it is to enforce the law but who also have a stake in the agencies employing them and who hold their own personal interests and values. As defendants wend their way through the system, they may be held accountable to the law, but in the process, they will also be buffeted by the personal whims of “officials” as well as by the practical needs of the system itself. A complete view of American criminal justice must recognize that the final outcome of any encounter with the criminal justice system will be a consequence of decisions made not just at the legislative level but in the day-to-day activities undertaken by everyone involved in the system. Hence the quality of justice is determined just as much by pressures on the system as by idealistic notions of right and wrong.

Multiculturalism complicates the practice of American criminal justice still further because there is rarely universal agreement in our society about what is right or wrong or about what constitutes “justice.”

An alternative way of viewing the practice of criminal justice is in terms of its two goals: crime control and due process. The crime-control perspective urges rapid and effective enforcement of the law and calls for the stiff punishment of lawbreakers. Due process, on the other hand, requires a recognition of the defendant’s rights and holds the agents of justice accountable for any actions that might contravene those rights. The goals of crime control and due process are often in conflict. Popular opinion may even see them as mutually exclusive, which contrasts the need to balance the rights of individuals against other valid social interests, especially the need for public order.

The central theme is represented by two opposing groups: individual-rights advocates and public-order advocates. The fundamental challenge facing the practice of American criminal justice is achieving efficient enforcement of the laws while recognizing and supporting the legal rights of suspects and the legitimate personal differences and prerogatives of individuals. This goal is made all the more difficult by changing social values and by rapid advances in the kinds of technology available to criminals. Nonetheless, the American mandate of crime control through due process ensures that criminal justice will remain an exciting and ever-evolving undertaking well into the twenty-first century and beyond.

Criminal Justice Online Courses – Making it Simple

Before we go in to the depth of the subject, it is necessary to understand what is criminal justice. Criminal Justice can be defined as the study of criminal behavior and the system to control the nature of delinquent activities. Of course, the subject is very vast and dense and includes aspects of different dimensions which are to be covered over the course of studies. To make the program available to a great percentage of citizens, criminal degree online courses have been started with the only view that people would be able to study the same at their home at their own time of convenience.

This dense and intense subject of criminal law includes various topics. The most popular specialization subjects offered by different online colleges includes topics of Corrections, criminal law, Justice administration, law enforcement, legal and paralegal studies, crime scene investigation and forensic sciences. Courses in this field are provided at different levels in the associate’s, bachelors and master’s level and certain institutions also provide certificate programs. A deep knowledge of the subject along with a master’s in the same subject with specialization at a specific field will surely help an individual to even be recruited in the finest legal firms like the FBI or the CIA.

The courses provided at different colleges and universities vary but the essence of the subject still remains the same. Kaplan University is determined as the finest universities providing the highest number of degree plans in the subject and the courses provided by them are A.A.S in Criminal Justice/Corrections, M.S. in Criminal Law, B.S. in Criminal Behavior, B.S. in Criminal Justice/Computer Crime, B.S. in criminal law/Law Enforcement, A.A.S in Criminal Justice, & M.S. in Criminal/Global Issues.

University of Phoenix is known all over the nation as the finest online education house and also provides various degrees in criminal justice. American Intercontinental University is popular for its financial grant program which allows students to gain benefit and join the criminal justice online courses like B.S. in Criminal Law: Special Population and B.S. in criminal Law: Forensic Science. Colorado Technical University is also extremely famous as a great online institution which provides unique online courses in criminal law. University of Cincinnati, Everest University Online, Ashford University, Westwood University, Rasmussen College, Liberty University and Argosy University are mentioned in the top-ten list of the best colleges and universities of the nation who are providing such great degrees programs to the masses.

The recent incidents and threats of war and security issues require an in-depth knowledge of the criminal law system to deal with what is actually happening around the world and in the nation. Criminal Justice online courses will surely help the individuals to gain maximum benefit and also to know the legal system of the nation.