You’ve likely seen identity theft portrayed in movies and television shows. These portrayals aren’t necessarily reflective of the activities that lead someone to be arrested for this crime
Generally speaking, any instance in which an individual successfully deceives or defrauds someone else in other to secure something for monetary gain may constitute identity theft.
Common types of identity theft
The most frequently charged and prosecuted crimes that involve identity theft include the following:
- Mortgage fraud: There’s more to this offense than individuals being charged with lying on their mortgage applications. It’s not uncommon for someone to get their hands on another person’s Social Security number and to use it to take out an equity line of credit without homeowners knowing until it’s too late.
- Mail identity theft: This now goes beyond individuals stealing checks or debit or credit cards out of individuals’ mailboxes. It also includes someone intercepting personal identifying information from your discarded mail (such as bank statements and Social Security reports).
- Credit or debit card fraud: This may involve someone procuring your card number to make purchases, not only leaving you to pay it off but also adversely impacting your credit score.
- Senior identity theft: Individuals may take advantage of seniors’ trusting nature to call them and get private information from them, including their Social Security, PIN or debit or credit card numbers, passwords, while claiming to be Medicare of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) representatives.
At least 16 other offenses fall under the umbrella of identity theft listed on the credit bureau Experian’s website. Data compiled by the consulting firm Javelin Strategy & Research shows that at least 13 million Americans reported falling victim to identity theft in 2019. Their losses came in at around $3.5 billion.
Both state and federal laws prohibit identity theft
The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act and Theft Penalty Enhancement Act make identity theft a federal crime. Georgia law prohibits it as well. If you’re facing these charges, then you’ll want to begin working on your defense strategy now to achieve the best outcome in your case.