A person commits identity theft when he or she uses someone else’s personal information, such as their name, driver’s license number, Social Security number, or bank account number and uses it to break the law.
According to the State of California Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General, every day individuals, children, business owners, and famous celebrities are the victims of identity theft.
In California, identity theft is covered under Penal Code Sect 530.5 et. seq. Congress also passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act in 1998 to address the growing problem of identity theft in the United States.
The Act amended Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1028, which made it a federal crime to “knowingly transfer or use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law."
What counts as identity theft?
There are many ways to commit identity theft, including but not limited to:
- Using the victim’s name
- Using the victim’s Social Security number
- Using the victim’s driver’s license number
- Using the victim’s health insurance
- Using the victim’s bank account or credit cards
- Taking out auto loans or mortgages in the victim’s name
- Generating criminal records in the victim’s name
- Committing immigration violations
- Stealing another’s Social Security benefits
In addition to the above, offenders can use Medicare numbers, birth certificates, passports, passwords, a mother’s maiden name, and biometric data, such as finger prints to commit identity theft crimes. The possibilities are almost endless, especially as technology advances.
According to the California’s Office of the Attorney General, in 2014, 12.4 million people were the victims of identity theft, representing 4% of the U.S. adult population, including more than 1.5 million Californians.
If you are facing identity theft charges, your future is at stake. You could be facing felony or even federal charges depending on the nature of the offense. So, you need help NOW.
Don’t wait, contact an Oakland criminal defense attorney from the Law Office of Nabiel C. Ahmed for a free consultation!