Understanding Identity Theft, According To the Government
Identity theft is a federal crime, and as such is subject to investigation by the FBI, IRS, ATF, or the DEA. All federal crimes are taken extremely seriously, including identity theft, and can result in serious, life-altering consequences. With the continual rise in technology, identity theft has become an even bigger problem, and it can be executed in numerous different ways. Data breaches can affect millions of people each year, resulting in stolen Social Security numbers, birthdates, addresses, driver’s license numbers, and other private personal information. Because this has become such a widespread issue, the government is cracking down on those charged with identity theft in Florida and across the nation.
If you are facing charges for identity theft, make sure you know how the federal government addresses these crimes.
About Identity Theft
When someone steals another individual’s personal information to commit fraud, they have committed identity theft. Stolen personal information can be used to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, receive medical services or to make purchases. When a person’s identity is stolen, it could result in financial difficulties, loss of funds, bad credit, denied loans, and several other serious issues.
Common Types of Identity Theft
Anyone is subject to identity theft, and individuals can steal personal information for a variety of reasons. However, there are a few ways in which identity theft usually occurs, including:
Child Identity Theft: Stealing a child’s personal information can be especially beneficial because the theft can often get away with the crime for several years. Their credit scores and other information is rarely of concern, which means parents might not be as vigilant about protecting their ID, and the fraud might not be noticed until the child becomes an adult.
Medical Identity Theft: Sometimes individuals will steal a person’s Medicare ID or health insurance information in order to use their health insurance and seek medical services.
Senior Identity Theft: Like children, seniors are especially vulnerable to identity theft. Some schemes target seniors specifically, stealing their personal information, medical information, or financial documents.
Social Identity Theft: While most types of identity theft work toward some financial gain, thieves can also steal personal information and photos to create false social media accounts and profiles online.
Tax Identity Theft: If a thief steals your Social Security number, they could falsely file tax returns, attempting to steal additional information or funds.
Penalties for Identity Theft
The federal government encourages victims of identity theft to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or the local police to report the crime. Any suspicious tax issues, such as IRS impersonators or tax scams are also supposed to be reported to the IRS. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act is also in place to protect individuals from any acts of false impersonation. Depending on the severity of the crime, those convicted of identity theft could face up to 15 years in prison, or more if the crime is associated with other violations. Other consequences may include hefty fines, mandatory community service, probation, and a criminal record.
To learn more about how the U.S. government views identity theft, visit usa.gov.
If you or someone you love is facing charges for identity theft, our firm is here to help. The price for breaking federal laws can be steep, which is why our firm is here to defend your rights and protect your future by creating a solid legal defense for your case.
To get started on your criminal defense case, contact Perlet, Shiner, Melchiorre & Walsh, P.A.