Someone may be charged with identity theft if they have taken the personal information of another person without that person’s knowledge. If the person who stole the personal information is convicted, they may face some serious penalties.
Identity theft may cause the victim to suffer serious losses, such as money being stolen from their bank account or fraudulent accounts being opened in their name.
Identity theft may be both a state and federal crime
Both state and federal law enforcement authorities view identity theft as a serious problem. Task forces have been created by state and federal law enforcement authorities, allowing them to focus solely on investigating identity theft complaints.
In Minnesota, identity theft may take place as the defendant takes and uses another person’s identity. If the defendant opened several accounts, such as credit or utility, in the other person’s name, the victim may suffer financial harm that may affect their life for years. Until they are able to have all fraudulent accounts closed and removed from their credit records, the victim may be working to clear their name.
Identity theft falls under the white-collar crime statutes
Identity theft falls into the white-collar crime category because the identity thief may use computers to obtain someone else’s personal information. They may apply for a mortgage, obtain a tax refund or apply for a credit card, all under someone else’s name.
How identity theft may be carried out
The person who steals another’s identity may use the victim’s Social Security number, date of birth or their name to apply for credit. They open bank accounts or carry out other illegal activities, all under the victim’s name.
They may use the internet to obtain the personal information. Or they may dumpster-dive or go through someone’s trash cart to find identifying information.