One of the fastest growing types of white collar crimes is identity theft. One of the reasons for the overwhelming increase is how much of this criminal activity takes place online.
The U.S. government now recognizes thirty different types of identity theft, including child identity theft, financial identity theft, change of address fraud, driver’s license fraud, social security fraud, and medical identity theft. Some identity theft thieves even create a whole “new person” by taking information from multiple victims and creating one identity.
The Federal Trade Commission has information on its website to enable victims of identity theft to create a personalized recovery plan. All of the information regarding the theft, such as what accounts were opened or fraudulently used, is entered into the system. The site then generates specific forms, letters, and affidavits the victim can send to government agencies, financial institutions, law enforcement, credit bureaus, and any other businesses or organizations they need to notify. The service is free of charge.
There are different degrees of identity theft, which may also raise issues for those people who are accused or charged with the crime. One form of identity theft is unauthorized charges of a credit card. You can be charged with the crime if there is evidence that you used a person’s credit card without their authorization. The owner of the credit card making that accusation is considered strong evidence.
But ask yourself, how many times has a family member or friend given you their credit card to pay for a purchase? For example, your significant other gives you their credit card to put gas in your vehicle because you are doing errands for them. Later that evening, the two of you get into an argument over the phone and break up. The next day, a police officer shows up at your door because your now ex has accused you of taking and using their credit card without authorization. And you still have their credit card. Who is the officer going to believe?
Attorney Amato Sanita has successfully defended many clients against a false accusation of identity theft. “There are a number of circumstances where innocent people are falsely accused of this crime. This is why it is critical to contact a seasoned defense attorney if you are arrested for identity theft,” he says.