Cases of identity theft are on the rise in the country, the Internal Affairs minister Aronda Nyakairima has revealed.
Identity theft is a crime through which an individual takes over details and identity of another person such as names, place of birth, parents, grandparents, age and could also involve taking over account and social security numbers.
Identity thieves only change the picture in the documents they use but retain the details of the other individual on documents like passports and transcripts .
According to police records, one out of every murder or fraud suspect end up being a case of identity theft, which manifest through forgery or uttering false documents.
Gen Aronda attributes the rise in the cases of identity theft to lack of a national database. He cites one such case involving Jamil Mukulu, the leader of Allied Democratic Forces rebel group where police recovered 50 passports containing his photographs with different names.
Aronda says there is concern that some people are aiding the crime by selling their documents which, are there after used to commit crimes around the globe. As a result, he says government is planing to introduce a biometric strip on all documents after the collection and storage of data on Ugandans.
Currently, police are investigating a case of identity theft involving a Businessman Godfrey Muhairwe, who was picked up for allegedly shooting two former Wembley operatives and another from the Flying Squad. During the search at his resident place, police recovered a passport whose particular belong to a man traced in Lwengo district.
Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson says police are yet to establish how Muhairwe attained the identity and what he was using it for.
Criminals can also obtain their victim’s personal data without having to break into their homes. In public places for example, criminals may engage in “shoulder surfing”; watching their victims from a nearby location as they punch in their details or listen in to ones conversation over the telephone.
Some criminals engage in “dumpster diving” going through their victim’s garbage or trash bin to obtain copies of checks, bank statements, or other records that typically bear their victim’s personal details. These types of records make it easier for criminals to get control over accounts in their victim’s name and assume their identity.