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Identity Theft Defense Considerations
With "true name" fraud, someone uses a consumer's personal information to open new accounts in his or her name.
With "account takeover" fraud, someone gains access to a person's existing account(s) and makes fraudulent charges.
Another form of identity theft occurs when a criminal provides a victim's personal information to law enforcement when the criminal gets arrested. The victim may then have a criminal record or outstanding warrants attached to their name without even realizing it.
There are multiple ways people can be charged with identity theft:
For information about how law enforcement views identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website.
- An insider at the DMV registry may provide someone on the outside with license numbers
- Stores ask customers to write their driver license number on checks, and a clerk can simply photocopy or write it down
- People may rummage through dumpsters behind medical buildings or steal credit card receipts at restaurants also are time-tested sources.
- People find useful personal data on the Internet
- Buy data from information brokers who sometimes ask few questions about a buyer's motives
Here are some additional ways people may be charged with identity theft:
In 1998, Congress passed The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (Identity Theft Act) to address this issue. 18 U.S.C. Section 1028 makes it a federal crime when anyone knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person 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.
- People open a new credit card account, using someone's name, date of birth, and Social Security number. When they use the credit card and don't pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on victim's credit report.
- They call the victim's credit card issuer and, pretending to be the credit card holder, change the mailing address on the credit card account. Then, the imposter runs up charges on the account. Because the victim's bills are being sent to the new address, the victim may not immediately realize there's a problem.
- They establish cellular phone service in someone else's name.
- They open a bank account in someone else's name and write bad checks on that account.
The United States Secret Service estimated that as many as 700,000 people were the victims of identity theft in 2000.
If you are facing potential identity theft charges, it is critical that you use a legal defense team with specific experience and expertise dealing with these types of charges. Call us at any time at (800) 459-2500 for a free, confidential initial consultation. Early intervention is critical to obtaining the best results.