One of the first 2011 year-end considerations to attract a certain interest on the Internet is that regarding the increase of online identity thefts in Italy.
In fact, in 2011 many Italian public figures have found their names associated with social networking profiles managed by unknown parties. Among the latest to be affected is the new Minister for Economic Development Corrado Passera who had a tweet attributed to him after the new economic measures had been passed, that was later revealed to come from a fake account.
But not only well-known personalities are hit by identity thieves. In an interview with the Adnkronos agency, Sabrina Castelluzzo, the person in charge of the computer crimes section of the Postal and Communications Police Service said that of the crimes committed online in Italy, identity theft is the most frequent. “This year alone we have received 2,900 complaints regarding this crime all over Italy,” explained Ms. Castelluzzo “and 1,400 have been fielded by other police departments. The investigations have enabled us to press charges of Identity Theft against 198 people, while at least 2,600 checks have been carried out on the Internet. “
According to Ms. Castelluzzo identity theft is an especially widespread crime as it is often a “crime vehicle” which comes in useful when committing more serious crimes such as misuse of credit cards or bank accounts through credentials extorted by means of phishing. However, with regard to the creation of fake profiles on social networks, identity theft is often linked to crimes such as defamation and stalking.