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What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the illegal use of someone else’s personal identifying information in order to obtain money or credit. Under 18 USC 1028A, aggravated identity theft mandates that, if convicted, a defendant must be sentenced to an additional two years in prison over and above any time served for other offenses. This offense carries a maximum term of 15 years’ imprisonment, a fine, and criminal forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit identity theft.

Additionally, the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act was enacted in 1998. This act prohibits “knowingly transferring or using 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 applicable state or local law.”

If you are facing identity theft charges, contact Lebedin Kofman LLP and speak with one of our identity theft lawyers in New York. You can reach us online or at (646) 663-4430.

Types of Identity Theft

Identity theft may include criminal, medical, and financial identity theft. Identity theft involving criminal activity occurs when a criminal misrepresents himself or herself as another person during arrest. A criminal may do this to avoid a summons, prevent the discovery of a warrant issued, or avoid arrest or conviction. Medical identity theft occurs when someone identifies himself or herself as another to obtain free medical care. Financial identity theft occurs when someone uses another person’s identity or information to obtain credit, goods, services, or benefits.

Identity theft can include the theft of names, Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, birth dates, or any other identifying characteristic. Identity thieves may obtain personal identifying information in several ways. Some of the identity theft crimes stem from criminals searching for discarded electronics, public record searches, stolen credit cards, credit card skimming, shoulder surfing, or computer hacking using computer viruses. Criminals may retrieve discarded pre-approved credit cards in the mail and try to activate them without the victim’s knowledge.

Recently, identity theft facilitated by the internet has increased. Identity thieves commonly use computer technology to obtain the personal information of victims. Many victims hastily respond to spam or unsolicited emails that promise benefits but request identifying data. Criminals may obtain a large amount of personal data from technological sources and use it for personal gain.

With enough identifying information, a criminal may be able to conduct a wide range of crimes, such as:

  • Applying for loans and credit cards;
  • Withdrawing money from bank accounts;
  • Using credit cards or obtaining other goods for which the criminal would be denied if he or she were to use his or her real name.

Call Lebedin Kofman LLP today at (646) 663-4430 or contact us online to speak with one of our identity theft lawyers in New York. Call now to set up a free consultation.

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