Differences in Types of Identity Theft
Not all identity theft charges are the same, and some carry steeper consequences than others. It’s important to know what you’re potentially facing based on the charges that you’ve been accused of.
Driver’s License Identity Theft
Driver’s license identity theft is the most common form of identity theft. If you are in possession of someone else’s driver’s license and attempt to purchase items in their name, you can face arrest. Types of driver’s license fraud include attempting to purchase alcohol underage with an ID that isn’t yours, or presenting another person’s driver’s license to law enforcement during a traffic stop.
Note: Providing false identification to a police officer is also considered criminal identity theft and can result in an additional charge.
Credit Card Theft
Credit card theft is considered a form of identity theft, as you are assuming that person’s name when you purchase unauthorized items. Whether or not you have the physical card in your possession does not make a difference. If you use another person’s credit or debit card information without their consent to purchase items, online for example, it is considered identity theft.
The weight of your charges will depend on the dollar amount that you have charged to the card.
New Account Identity Theft
If you use another person’s name and social security number to create a new account without their consent, you can be charged with new account identity theft. This includes opening credit cards in another person’s name or obtaining other lines of credit using fraudulent information.
Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft occurs if you use another person’s identification or medical insurance information to seek treatment. An example is using a friend or family member’s insurance card at the doctor, hospital, or pharmacy so that you can receive their benefits.
There are more than 20 different kinds of identity theft, all of which can be found here.
Florida Offenses for Identity Theft Crimes
Penalties for identity theft crimes follow the same penalties for white-collar crimes. They do vary depending on the offense committed. For example:
- If a person willfully and without authorization fraudulently uses, or possesses with the intent to use, personal identification information without having that person’s consent, they can be charged with a felony of the third-degree. This means they can face a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- The offense becomes a second-degree felony when the financial benefit, the value of the services received, or the payment sought to be avoided is $5,000 or more, or if the identity theft charges involve 10 or more persons, but fewer than 20 persons. In this case, they face a maximum sentence of 15 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Lastly, the offense becomes a first-degree felony when the benefits, value of services, or payments avoided is $50,000 or more, or if the case involves 20 or more persons. In this case, they face a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.
Identity Theft and Fraud Facts to Remember
There are several things to remember in regard to identity theft that many people often fail to consider.
- If you open a new credit card account in someone else’s name, that person will be notified and it is likely that you will be discovered.
- If you use a family member or friend’s credit card without their consent they can press charges on you. It doesn’t have to be a stranger.
- You can be charged with driver’s license theft or criminal identity theft even if another person has given you their driver’s license or insurance card to use willingly. It is considered a crime no matter what to assume another person’s identity for any reason.
Identity Theft Lawyers
There are identity theft lawyers in Pompano Beach who can fight for your rights in a court of law. You may be falsely accused of committing identity theft, and if this is the case it is extremely important to hire a lawyer who can best represent you. You have options to help fight your case, and you do not have to accept the charges and consequences without a legal proceeding.
Hiring an identity theft lawyer for your defense is your legal right. Do not let law enforcement officials or prosecutors convince you otherwise. If you are being questioned regarding identity theft charges you can invoke your right to ask for a lawyer at any time, at which point one must be provided to you and questioning must stop. Furthermore, you are entitled to enact your fifth amendment right not to answer any questions that may lead to self-incrimination.
Take Action Now
Being accused of identity theft is a big deal and it can carry hefty consequences. But there are many defenses available to you. If you or someone you know is facing identity theft charges, contacting an identity theft attorney who is well-versed in Florida’s law can make a difference.