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A Typology of Identity-related Crime: Conceptual, Technical, and Legal Issues 

Bert-Jaap Koops, Ronald Leenes, Martin Meints, Nicole van der Meulen & David-Olivier Jaquet-Chiffelle 



Identification is ever more important in the online world, and identity-related crime is a growing problem related to this. This new category of crime is not restricted to high-profile instances of identity ‘theft’ or identity fraud; it is wide-ranging and complex, ranging from identity deletion to unlawful identity creation and identity ‘theft’. Commonly accepted definitions are lacking, thus blurring available statistics, and policies to combat this new crime are piecemeal at best. In order to assess the real nature and magnitude of identity-related crime, and to be able to discuss how it can be combated, identity-related crime should be understood in all its aspects. As a first key step, this article introduces a typology of identity-related crime, consisting of conceptual, technical, and legal categories. The conceptual categories are unlawful forms of identity deletion, identity restoration, and identity change; the latter category is subdivided in unlawful forms of identity takeover (‘identity theft’), identity delegation, identity exchange, and identity creation. The technical categories consist of 17 points of attack on identification. The legal categories distinguishes between identity-specific legal provisions, such as the US crime of identity theft, and identity-neutral legal provisions mainly used in Europe, subdivided in criminal, civil, and administrative provisions. This typology can be used as a comprehensive framework for future research, countermeasures, and policies related to identity-related crime. 



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