identity theft

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West Palm Beach Identity Fraud Defense

Legal representation for identity theft in Florida and the United States

Identity theft - or identity fraud - is the act of taking someone’s identity in order to obtain credit, credit cards, cash, loans, accounts, employment, or other personal gain.
Under Florida General Statute 817.568, using someone else’s name and personally identifying information subjects you to a potential identity theft charge.

What is Identity Theft?

The Florida identity theft statute lists the following as examples of personal identification information:

A name, postal or email address, telephone number, social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, official state-issued or United States-issued driver’s license, alien registration number, passport number, employer identification number, Medicaid or food assistance account number, bank account number, credit or debit card number, or personal identification number or code assigned to a debit card;

“Biometric” data such as fingerprints, voice recognition, and retina or iris imaging;

Electronic identification numbers, addresses, or routing codes;

Medical records; and

Telecommunication or identifying information or access devices.

Examples of Identity Theft

Florida law classifies identity theft crimes as follows:

Criminal use or possession of personal identification information

Use or possession of a deceased person’s information

Obtaining property by false personation

Criminal use of personal identification information to harass another

Use of a minor’s personal identification information

Using counterfeit or fictitious personal identification information

What is Identity Theft?

The following types of conduct may constitute identity theft, among others:

Using someone’s credit card or credit account without permission

Selling someone’s driver’s license or other identification card

Using someone’s social security number to apply for benefits

Filling out fraudulent tax returns

Creating false PayPal accounts

Using someone’s login credentials to withdraw money from a bank account

Stealing checks or ATM cards

Penalties for Identity Theft

Under the Florida statute, identity theft is often deemed a first degree misdemeanor, absent aggravating circumstances. However, depending on factors like the way you obtained the information and how you used it, you may face a charge as high as a first degree felony, resulting in twenty years to life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. A second degree felony carries a sentence of up to fifteen years in prison and a $10,000 fine, and a third degree felony can result in up to five years and $5,000.

Misdemeanor charges result in lesser punishments, ranging from one year in prison and a $1,000 fine to a 60-day sentence and a $500 fine. In some cases, a court may order you to pay the victim restitution.

No matter the specifics of your situation, engaging an identity fraud attorney can help you establish the best defense.

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