While the laws against identity theft have gotten tougher in recent years, the problem is that identity theft criminal prosecution is very rare. Most of the criminals are never identified. Recently, a few big cases have been discovered, which takes a lot of collaborative work from many government agencies. Below are some of the reasons you do not see more identity thieves being brought to justice.
According to USA Today, only 11% of identity theft victims knew their personal information had been compromised prior to finding out they had become a victim. Most people do not learn they have been victims for weeks, months, or even years after the criminal activity started. As a result, reporting of the crime comes when the case has gone cold. Victims who are able to pinpoint more precisely when their identities were compromised are far more likely to see the culprits face criminal prosecution.
Solving a crime that takes place in a single city can be extremely challenging, but imagine how hard it must be to solve a case that covers numerous cities and crosses state lines. Some cases of identity theft can even be traced to international thieves. The bottom line is that tracking down the person behind these crimes can be very challenging, unless they have made some dumb mistakes along the way, such as working for a company they victimized. In those cases, identity theft criminal prosecution is much more likely.
No Paper Trail
The smartest identity thieves are not going to make it easy on the authorities to catch them. They know, for example, that credit card usage can be easily tracked once the crime has been recognized. They also know not to change your address to theirs or to make the theft look too obvious. Many of the actual thieves do not even use the information themselves; they sell it so the crime cannot be traced back to them easily. That makes identity theft criminal prosecution even harder.
Failure to Report
Another complication when it comes to identity theft criminal prosecution is that not every victim is reporting the crime to the local police and to the FTC. Only when victims start reporting more frequently will these criminals stand a better chance of being brought to justice.