Digital economy

Online Identity Theft



ISBN: 978-92-64-05658-9
Pages: 137
March 2009

Table of contents | How to obtain this book  

The growth of Internet and e-commerce has taken ID theft to new levels. Using widely available Internet tools, thieves trick unsuspecting computer users into providing personal data, which they then use for illicit purposes.


The potential for fraud is a major hurdle in the evolution and growth of online commerce. E-payment and e-banking services -- the focus of this book -- suffer substantially from public mistrust.


Given the growth of online ID theft, many OECD member countries have taken steps to ensure that consumers and Internet users are adequately protected. These steps encompass various measures: consumer and user-awareness campaigns, new legislative frameworks, private-public partnerships, and industry-led initiatives focused on technical responses.

The purpose of this book is threefold:

  • to define ID theft, both online and off-line, and to study how it is perpetrated;
  • to outline what is being done to combat the major types of ID theft; and
  • to recommend specific ways that ID theft can be addressed in an effective, global manner.


Table of contents

Executive Summary

Part I. The Scope of Online Identity Theft

Chapter 1. The Problem Posed by Online Identity Theft
A new Internet landscape | What is identity theft? |  ID theft’s main elements

Chapter 2. Online Identity Theft: Tools of the Trade
ID theft based solely on malware | Key drivers of online ID theft: Phishing and its variants | Phishing techniques | Phishing evolution and trends | What online ID thieves do with the data: credit card fraud
and other abuses

Chapter 3. The Impact of Online Identity Theft
Defining the victims | Victims’ direct and indirect losses | Are there more victims off line than on line? | Remediation tools for victims

Part II. Addressing Online Identity Theft

Chapter 4. The Role of Government

How OECD countries currently define ID theft | The option of criminalising ID theft | Public education and awareness campaigns | Annex: ID Theft - Education and Government Initiatives
in OECD Countries | Annex: United States Initiatives to Combat Identity Theft

Chapter 5. Private Sector Initiatives: What Role for Industry and Internet Service Providers?
A serious private-sector threat | Annex: Private-Sector Initiatives to Educate Consumers about ID Theft

Chapter 6. International, Bilateral and Regional Initiatives
International organisations | International informal networks | Annex: Multilateral Instruments Addressing Online ID Theft | Annex: United Nations Study on Identity Fraud

Chapter 7. Online Identity Theft: What Can Be Done?
Enhancing education and awareness | Dissemination of information | Co-ordination of education initiatives | Authentication and data security | Electronic authentication | Areas for further work

Chapter 8. Conclusions and Recommendations

Part III. OECD Policy Guidance on Online Identity Theft
Introduction | Ways that education and awareness could be enhanced to prevent online ID theft | Data security | Electronic authentication | Further work

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