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They may do so to mask their own identities and deflect responsibility for their actions (which can result in the identity theft victim becoming a suspect or even being arrested for crimes he/she didn't commit).Or they may steal others' identities in order to obtain access to the victim's resources (which allows them to use the victim's credit to open accounts or make purchases, to steal money out of the victim's bank accounts, etc.).In some countries, people who make public comments critical of government or other authorities may be in real physical danger of repercussions.In other, less dire but frustrating cases, people were prevented from using the names by which they're well known to the world.We have to do those things as our "real selves." There has been talk about even allowing online voting in elections.
Deb Shinder writes about the related issues of loss of anonymity, privacy, and cybercrime.
When it comes to cybercrime, identity comes into play in different ways.
Cybercriminals steal the online identities of others for different purposes.
In the early days of the Internet, online and offline identities were often kept separate. When using online services such as AOL and Compu Serve, most users went by "screen names" or "handles" and knew each other only by those pseudonyms.
There was far less expectation that others would reveal their true identities.
The increasing incidence of cyber scams led Internet users to become less trusting.