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Identity Theft and Fraud

It is extensively documented that majority of antisocial and subsequently criminal activities often increase in adolescence years with a peak at around sixteen and seventeen years and decrease during adulthood. Research indicates this is the case particularly for materialistic and property crimes including cybercrimes such as credit card fraud (Sweeten, Piquero, & Steinberg, 2013). Undeniably, evidence of the age and crime interrelationship is common in different studies that involved various respondents from different ethnicities, national origins, and backgrounds. The validations for the association between crime and age differ among scholars. Various development theories refer to the multiple changes sociologically, psychologically and biologically during adolescence and young adulthood that often makes individuals in this particular age group vulnerable to criminal behavior. Indeed, one of the most popular criminological perspective postulated by Gottfredson and Hirschi insists that age has a direct influence on delinquent activities unfathomable from the sociological and psychological views (Sweeten, Piquero, & Steinberg, 2013).

New York City is considered one of the busiest metropolitan areas across the globe. The city enjoys a wide variety of diversity with individuals from different backgrounds, cultures, ethnicity converging in the “Big Apple.” Since individuals have different aspirations in their efforts to survive, people are often motivated to engage in criminal activities either for enjoyment or as a means of survival (Find Law, 2014). Owing to the number of individuals in the city, it is evident that there are various cases of cyber-enabled crimes such as credit card fraud. The New York criminal law prohibits two different usages of the credit card and debit card in efforts of committing a crime or fraud. Section 165.15 (1) prohibits the use of debit or credit cards that are stolen while section 165.17 prohibits the usage of a credit or debit card that revoked or canceled (Find Law, 2014).

Research indicates that young adults are driven by various factors to commit cyber crimes such as credit card fraud including recognition from their peers, achieving a sense of success and subsequently a sense of belonging, and popularity in the different social media platforms (Pagnotta, 2017). Moreover, others are driven by the financial gain associated with the crime, and the perception that credit card fraud is not criminal activity in the “conventional sense.” Another attribute that motivates young adults is the ease of launching attacks owing to the extensive hardware and software that support activities in the cyberspace.

However, despite the extensive theoretical documentation on the association between age and criminal activities, there is limited empirical evidence on the concept as such validating research on the factors that influence young adults between the age of sixteen and twenty-five to engage in credit card fraud in New York City. Undeniably, the study is relevant to the field of criminology since, in recent years, the advancement in technology has brought the concept of cybercrimes and cyber-enabled delinquent activities to the forefront of the crime paradigm (Sweeten, Piquero, & Steinberg, 2013). Statistics indicate in the past half a decade, a third of the total internet users across the USA have reported and expressed negative experience in the cyberspace (Sweeten, Piquero, & Steinberg, 2013). While in many cases the incidents are often small to warranty criminal records, research indicates cybercriminals, particularly young adults often venture in the crime with the perception that it has limited consequences and as such often motivated by small success related to hacking. Moreover, the research will provide insight into the steps necessary for cybersecurity an essential factor in a contemporary society that majorly relies on technology and related devices and services.

Like many studies in the field of social and behavioral sciences, it is paramount to take into consideration the ethical issues associated with the research to not only the participants but also the researcher. The aspect of moral consideration becomes particularly essential considering the various debates related to cybersecurity and privacy. Bearing in mind the participants are young adults with an active online presence, ethical issues of the research involve the concept of anonymity, confidentiality the aspect of informed the idea of privacy as it pertains the cyberspace (Sweeten, Piquero, & Steinberg, 2013). Lack of adherence to any of the above considerations not only threatens the integrity of a particular research but also risks the online presence and physical security of both the researcher and the respondents. Therefore, the researcher intends to seek informed consent, adhere to the aspects of confidentiality and anonymity of the respondents and ensure the security of the participants in the cyberspace by conducting the research diligently.


Find Law. (2014). New York City credit card fraud laws. Retrieved from Find Law:

Pagnotta, S. (2017, May 3). What motivates some young people to become cybercriminals. Retrieved from We Live Security:

Sweeten, G., Piquero, A. R., & Steinberg. (2013). Age and explanation of crime revisited. Journal of Youth Adolescence, 42, 921-938.


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