Identity theft continues to be one of the most common forms of property crime in America. The importance of safeguarding social security numbers, passwords, bank account information, and credit card statements is at an all-time high. Unfortunately sometimes innocent people find themselves on the wrong end of an identity theft accusation. Anyone who acquires another person’s personal information without their consent could be at risk of being charged with identity theft. Below are some examples of identity theft tactics:
One popular tactic is to create a fake WiFi hotspot in a public place to lure in victims that are looking for a free wireless network. Once the user logs in, personal information on their computer is instantly accessible to the network’s creator.
Credit Card Skimmers
Credit card skimmers are another identity theft tool. Skimmers are card readers attached to payment terminals that grab personal information off the card’s magnetic strip. ATMs and gas pumps are historically popular locations for these devices.
Identity thieves can also send an email posing as a trusted company or organization. This is known as phishing and these emails urgently request personal information based on some fictitious reason. Identity theft schemes can also be much more complex.
Every year large companies are hacked and millions of customers have their personal information stolen. Those that carryout these schemes, whether big or small, should be caught and punished accordingly. The truth, however, is that anyone who acquires another person’s personal information without consent could be at risk of being arrested and charged with identity theft.
Criminal convictions for identity theft can result in harsh punishments. Depending on the accusation, identity theft can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony in either State or Federal court. A misdemeanor often leads to costly financial penalties while a felony can result in up to 15 years’ imprisonment. Additionally, under federal law, anyone convicted of aggravated identify theft is automatically eligible for a mandatory minimum two year prison sentence.
Aggravated identity theft
Aggravated identity theft occurs when someone uses the identity of another during the commission of a state or federal felony. Mail fraud, forgery, and false personation of citizenship are all examples of predicate felony offenses that can trigger a charge of aggravated identity theft. Unlike most sentences that run concurrently, a sentence for aggravated identity theft often runs consecutive to any underlying felony conviction. This is usually controlled by the prosecutor and they use it as a powerful bargaining tool. Accusations of identity theft are serious and because of the crime’s increased notoriety, prosecutors often move quickly to obtain a conviction.
When you are falsely accused
If you have been or suspect you may be charged with identity theft, you have the right to contact an attorney immediately. For decades, thousands of clients have chosen Berry Law Firm to defend their reputations and protect their freedom. Remember, every person is innocent until proven guilty. Berry Law Firm places a premium on this fundamental legal right and is ready to fight back against unwarranted accusations of identity theft.