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Reporting behaviors of identity theft victims: an empirical test of Black’s theory of law

Katelyn A. Golladay (Arizona State University, Phoenix, USA)

Journal of Financial Crime

ISSN: 1359-0790

Article publication date: 3 January 2017




This paper aims to examine factors that influence the decision to report by victims of identity theft victimization. The study of victim decision-making is not new within the field of criminology; however, a majority of the research has focused on decision-making surrounding victims of intimate partner violence and other violent offenses. With the increase of identity theft, knowledge on how a growth in such a crime influences victims is of great concern.


Guided by Donald Black’s theory of the behavior of law, this study will use the 2012 Identity Theft Supplement of the National Crime Victimization Survey to identify factors that influence whether victims of identity theft report the crime to credit agencies and/or authorities.


This study finds that measures that influence reporting behaviors differ based on the method of reporting (i.e. reporting to a credit card company, law enforcement or a credit bureau). These findings provide little support for Black’s theory of law, but have several theoretical and policy implications.


This study provides a partial test of Black’s theory of law, as it applies to identity theft victims. While providing little support for the theory, the findings identify many areas that agencies and researchers can use to help further inform their studies and practices.



The author thanks Kristy Holtfreter for her constructive feedback on earlier versions of this paper. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Katelyn Golladay, School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Arizona State University, 411 N. Central Avenue, Phoenix, AZ, 85004, e-mail:


Golladay, K.A. (2017), "Reporting behaviors of identity theft victims: an empirical test of Black’s theory of law", Journal of Financial Crime, Vol. 24 No. 1, pp. 101-117.



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