Identity theft is no doubt a problem, but IBM is looking to help prevent some of it. In fact, the IBM Zurich lab has just come out with something called the Zone Trusted Information Channel (or ZTIC for short) that could help put a stop to identity theft in many cases, especially when it comes to bank transactions.
The ZTIC is a USB device that you can plug into your computer and it will talk to a bank's servers by means of an SSL connection. It features a processor, a display, software and more in order to make that SSL connection.
So, as you're making an online transaction, the little display on the device will show information that can then be compared to what you're seeing on your web browser. If the ZTIC shows different information than what your browser is showing, someone is likely intervening in the transaction, giving you the opportunity to close it. This is really a breakthrough and could make for much securer transactions in the future.