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‘Space Faking’ - A New Concern Regarding Online Identity Theft

The increasing trend of "space faking" on the Internet in which users impersonate other people has once again set ablaze concerns regarding the security and safety of social networking websites.

According to Bob Debus, Federal Home Affairs Minister, Australia, while it cannot be said that 'space faking' is a crime, the activity could indeed be regarded as a forerunner to ID theft, as reported by THE AGE on January 3, 2009.

The Minister said space faking could be an innocent activity, but one has to upgrade it to use it for an identity offense. Cunning users might manage to utilize bogus identities to collect evidences about a user's identity and subsequently, move on to defraud that person.

Further, space fakers are increasingly overrunning social networking websites by swiping photos of other members and creating completely fresh identities for their own benefits. Besides, technology-based offense is a complicated, dynamic environment, with new developments are continuously emerging.

Thus, in the latter half of 2008, legislation was presented in the Australian Parliament that takes into account crimes involving misuse of identity. Earlier, it was extremely hard to prove an identity fraud.

The new legislation would make stealing someone's identity a serious crime. Further, possessing and handling identity information along with owning equipments to create identity documents for committing a crime would now be considered a punishable offense. The legislation would also let sufferers of an ID theft to acquire a certificate from the court declaring that their identities and reputation had been dragged into the crime.

According to Victoria's Attorney General, the new legislation would give sufferers of identity crime a chance to build their lives afresh.

However, the current situation is that a flaw in the current act implies that in spite of costing Australia nearly $1 Billion and victimizing approximately 124,000 people in 2007, stealing identities of Internet users isn't a crime.

Considering this to be serious, experts advise users to be vigilant of strangers who could access their details for making fake profiles.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 1/20/2009

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