Who are you today? Profiling the ID theft fraudster

Olga Angelopoulou, Stilianos Vidalis, Ian Robinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


Online Identity Theft (ID theft) is a significant problem in our modern knowledge-based and socialdriven computing era. This type of cybercrime can be achieved in a number of different ways; and more of the point, various statistical figures suggest it is on the increase. The target is individual privacy and self-assurance, while efforts and measures for increased security and protection appear inadequate to prevent it. While personal identities are increasingly being stored and shared on digital media in virtualised environments, the threat of personal and private information that is used fraudulently cannot be eliminated. This trend in crime can result in complex investigations that involve virtualised information technologies, both as a medium for analysis and as evidence at the same time. Fraudsters are obtaining more sophisticated technological ways and increase their capability not only for committing but also for concealing their crimes. It is believed that fraudsters of this kind of crime are not acting individually, but rather they operate in an organised and well-structured manner. Indeed ID theft is nowadays directly linked to drug trafficking, money laundering and terrorism. ID theft, like almost all different types of crime, involves two parts, at least one victim and at least one fraudster. We argue that the differentiation of the investigation procedure between the victim's and the fraudster's side, depends on the ownership and control of the digital media involved in the crime, and can provide results on a more crime-focused basis. In addition it provides information gathering, understanding and knowledge about the way the fraudster acts and could potentially assist in future investigations. Different pieces of evidence can be discovered on each side (victim-fraudster) concerning the techniques that have been used to perpetrate the crime. The online ID theft techniques can leave evidence on both the victim's and the fraudster's system. However, the evidence tends to contain different elements on each side that can reveal information about the fraudster and eventually profile him in relation to the attack. There is an approach of profiling the ID theft fraudster based on the findings thatarise during the forensic investigation process in this paper. We discuss the extent of ID theft as a problem and the role of the fraudster in different ID theft techniques. We aim to demonstrate processes that could assist the profiling of the fraudster under the forensic investigation of ID theft.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security 2012, ECIW 2012
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event11th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security 2012, ECIW 2012 - Laval, France
Duration: 5 Jul 20126 Jul 2012


Conference11th European Conference on Information Warfare and Security 2012, ECIW 2012


  • Computer crime
  • Fraudster profiling
  • Identity theft


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