The phrase “identify theft” has long been used in the United States. While the terminology has been widely used in the U.S. for quite a few years, few people know what this crime entails.
Many people only come to find out that their actions were unlawful once they discover that they’re facing criminal charges. Prosecutors are relentless in pursuing criminal charges against people suspected of engaging in these white-collar crimes.
Which acts fall into the identity theft category?
Almost any situation in which someone procures something by defrauding or deceiving another for some type of gain falls into the category of identity theft.
If you watch television, then you’ve likely heard of people that make a habit out of combing through someone’s personal effects looking for Social Security information or other personal identification numbers. Their use of this information to obtain benefits, transfer funds or make purchases constitutes identity theft. Anyone who engages in such activities may also face additional charges such as wire or mail fraud, theft or larceny depending on the goods or services they obtain.
Identity theft can also be more nuanced. For example, using a friend or relative’s credit card without their permission or pretending to be someone else online for some personal gain can also be a serious crime. Signing someone else’s name to invoices or receipts can also be identity theft.
A conviction for identity theft on either the state or federal level can change the trajectory of your career and life. A criminal record for any kind of theft can affect your ability to acquire or retain professional licenses and limit your ability to secure housing as well. You owe it to yourself to fight against any charges that you face. This is your only chance to keep your record clean.