Identity theft has become more common with the increased use of digital devices. In a world where people are connected to the internet twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, the potential risks loom large.
Each identity theft case is unique. But if the charges are severe, those prosecuted run the risk of being fined thousands of dollars and facing multiple years in jail.
At Simmrin Law Group, our team understands the severity of an identity theft charge. We have the Thousand Oaks identity theft lawyer you need to provide the justice you deserve.
What Is identity theft in California?
According to the latest data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are more than 130,000 identity theft cases yearly in California. For every 100,000 people, there are nearly 340 cases of identity theft. Among other fraud and scams, identity theft causes almost $821 million in losses for California annually.
In California, Penal Code §530.5 PC is the statute that regulates identity theft. These criminal acts are classified as either misdemeanors or felonies, and the charge is dependent on how severe the identity theft is. Someone using another individual’s identity to buy items or apply for credit or a loan without that person’s approval can be charged with identity theft.
California Penal Code §473 PC also can be used by a prosecutor to bring identity theft charges against a person, claiming forgery, either as a misdemeanor or felony. If the forging is $950 or less, it is a misdemeanor, with the potential for up to one year of jail time. However, if the person accused of this crime has previous convictions, the prosecutor may ask for it to be a felony, resulting in up to $10,000 in fines and years in jail.
For a free legal consultation with a identity theft lawyer serving Thousand Oaks, call (310) 896-2723
What Types of Identity Theft Does California Criminalize?
In California, several types of identity theft are criminalized, including:
- Using another person’s credit card information to make purchases
- Falsely impersonating another individual by using their email account
- Using another person’s identity to apply for a credit card, mortgage, or another type of loan
- Collecting unemployment or welfare benefits by using another person’s identity, including their social security number
- Using another person’s identity to commit a criminal offense
It is worth noting that simply having another individual’s personal information is not defined as identity theft. Therefore, the prosecuting attorney must prove intent. They must show that the person who came into possession of this information did so to use it illegally and with fraudulent purposes in mind.
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What Types of Personal Information Are Used in Identity Theft?
There are numerous types of personal information that can be used in identity theft, including the following:
- Phone numbers
- Social security numbers
- Mother’s maiden name
When someone uses any or all this information belonging to another person without their knowledge or permission for financial gain, they can be charged with identity theft.
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Defenses for Identity Theft Charges
There are various legal defenses for individuals charged with identity theft, including those noted below.
- Falsely Accused: the most prominent defense against identity theft is the truth. For example, if someone accuses another person of stealing their identity by opening their mail, but the accused did so accidentally because the United States Postal Service delivered the mail to their address, they might have a legitimate defense that works in their favor.
- Approval Granted: if a victim of identity theft provided authorization to another person to use their identity and there is proof of this consent, then this can be used to prove that permission was granted. Therefore, identity theft did not occur.
- No Fraudulent Intent: obtaining another person’s information is insufficient to charge someone with identity theft. It must be proven that this information was stolen so they could use it unlawfully.
- Insufficient Warrant: if someone is accused of identity theft, it is likely that their devices, such as a computer, phone, or external hard drives, will be taken by law enforcement. If these items are seized without a proper warrant, then the information on these devices may not be admissible in court.
These are just a few examples of defenses for identity theft charges to consider. The team at Simmrin Law Group can help work with those needing an identity theft lawyer in Thousand Oaks to provide the representation and defense strategy required to achieve a positive outcome.
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What Are Federal Identity Theft Charges?
According to local and state laws, those who live in California and are accused of committing identity theft may be at risk of being charged. They might also receive federal identity theft charges. It depends on the case’s specifics, which is why a Thousand Oaks identity theft attorney is essential.
The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) may play a role in a case where the alleged criminal behavior occurred across state lines. They might also become involved if a substantial amount of money or personal information is at play. If the charges include a financial banking crime, this may also be a reason for the DOJ to insert itself into the matter.
Contact Simmrin Law Group for an Identity Theft Attorney in Thousand Oaks
Simmrin Law Group can help you with your case to build the best defense possible if you have been accused of identity theft. Those needing a Thousand Oaks identity theft lawyer turn to us because of our talent, knowledge, and experience. Reach out to our attorneys today.
Call or text (310) 896-2723 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form