Identity theft occurs when a person assumes the identity of another person and represents himself or herself as that person in order to obtain a financial gain. Identity theft is a crime that has recently gained a great deal of attention in recent years. People are afraid of how vulnerable their personal information may be to those looking to assume their identity. Because of the heightened focus on identity theft, Florida has started to really crack down in enforcing identity theft laws. The penalties for being convicted of identity theft are severe. In fact, if a person has used the personal identifying information of another in order to gain financially in an amount greater than $5,000, the crime is classified as a second degree felony. If the identity theft included taking personal identifying information of 10 or 19 individuals for financial gain, this is also classified as a second degree felony. If public records were used in the commission of identity theft, the offense would be bumped up to a first degree felony. Also, if the personal identifying information of 20 or more individuals was involved, or the identity theft resulted in a financial gain of $50,000 or more, the offense would be bumped up to a first degree felony. Conviction, in addition to jail time and fines, may also include paying restitution to the victim, including attorney’s fees. This is all on top of the stigma the convicted individual would carry indefinitely, the trouble with obtaining housing or gainful employment someone with a felony record often has, and the restriction on civil rights a convicted felon has as well.
What are Some of the Different Types of Identity Theft?
Identity theft comes in many forms. The personal identifying information used in identity theft can include a person’s:
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Phone number
A person committing identity theft then can use this information in any number of ways to gain financially. Sometimes a person will use your information, but his or her own picture on a false driver’s license. That means he or she can do things like apply in person for credit by pretending to be you. Once granted that initial credit, it will be easier for him or her to obtain even more credit in your name. Unfortunately, as his or her credit builds, the risk of the victim’s credit and reputation come more at risk for sustaining harm that will be difficult to repair.
Those engaged in identity theft will also use another person’s identifying information to do things like:
- Take money from a bank account
- Obtain a credit card
- Apply for loans
- Lease an automobile or residence
- Obtain employment
Identity theft has also started playing a bigger role in perpetrating other crimes ranging all the way up to the felony level.
Fighting to Help Prevent Your Identity Theft Charge from Becoming a Felony Conviction
Prosecutors will look to set an example of a person facing an identity theft charge. Once that charge becomes a conviction, heavy penalties will follow. Herman Law provides experienced criminal defense counsel when you need it most. Contact us today.