What Is Identity Theft? Why Is It Such a Serious Crime?

When people think of theft crimes, they might not think of identity theft. Identity theft is an ever-growing problem that can put people's lives in a huge upheaval. The possible effects that identity theft can have on the victim is one reason why Maryland has taken such a hard stance against this crime.

What is identity theft?

A person using another person's identifying information without that person's permission is the simple definition of identity theft. The identifying information can consist of a person's name, birth date, Social Security number, and any other information necessary to pretend they are that person.

What can a person do with identifying information?

A person might use another person's identifying information to open credit accounts, bank accounts, or similar financial transactions. In some cases, the person might use the identifying information to access accounts that the victim already has open. This might give them access to bank accounts or credit cards.

Why is identity theft so serious?

A person who is the victim of identity theft often has to spend hours upon hours to get their financial affairs back in order. They might suffer a monetary loss because of the identity theft. For the person who is accused of identity theft, the charge is serious because it is a felony that comes with a host of possible penalties that the court can impose upon conviction.

If you are charged with identity theft, you should get to work on your defense right away. The penalties for an identity theft conviction can include fines, restitution, imprisonment, and other penalties.

Source: FindLaw, "Identity Theft," accessed Dec. 31, 2015

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