It is important to understand what qualifies as identity theft, especially when it comes to online transactions, employment, and relationships. Perhaps you have shared your own or used the information of a relative or friend in the past, maybe in an attempt to help them, but in fact, you may have unwittingly committed a crime. Knowing how to protect your information, and how to treat the information that belongs to others, may prevent you from making a mistake that could have very serious consequences, from loss of employment to criminal charges.
Some examples of what qualifies as identity theft include:
Social Security Number Theft
The government issues Social Security numbers to all citizens and permanent residents of the United States. Unfortunately, and explicitly contrary to its original purpose, Social Security numbers have become a common form of personal identification. Therefore, when a Social Security number is stolen, it often may be used in one of many fraudulent ways, such as to:
- Open credit card and financial accounts;
- Sell to undocumented workers; and/or
- Falsely obtain other legal documents, such as passports.
A stolen Social Security number is certain to lead to additional problems for the victim, because it is powerful personal information that may be used to gain access to:
- Tax income refunds. Despite efforts by the IRS to spot and stop fraudulent returns, the government agency admits that fraudulent claims do make it through their system undetected.
- Synthetic identity theft. This type of theft occurs when a Social Security number is used with fake information, such as a different name and address. The purpose of synthetic identity theft is to create a new identity for someone seeking to deceive authorities, including law enforcement and lenders.
Medical Identity Theft
Obtaining medical care or prescription drugs under fraudulent circumstances is medical identity theft. Using the medical identification number or insurance information that belongs to someone else can negatively impact the rightful owner in their future medical care because doctors and other health care providers rely on medical records and histories to treat their patients. Confusion or errors of information can delay necessary treatment and procedures with catastrophic results.
Medical identity theft affects millions of Americans each year, and it is one type of identity theft that may literally have life and death consequences for victims.
Child Identity Theft
One of the most vulnerable populations for identity theft is children. While children in foster care are especially at risk because of the multitude of people who enter and leave their cases and lives, any child can become a victim.
The types of fraudulent activity using a child’s Social Security number are similar to those used with an adult’s personal information. The major difference is a child usually has no ability to monitor their credit and so may suffer lasting financial damage later in life.
Contact the Khonsari Law Group
If you are charged with identity theft, speak to an experienced Florida criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Under Florida law, a criminal conviction for identity theft carries the possibility of jail time and significant fines. Since identity theft charges are serious, don’t trust your defense to just anyone. The attorneys of Khonsari Law Group have experience representing clients who have been charged with identity theft, and we are committed to providing a thorough and complete defense to ensure the best possible outcome for every case.
Contact Khonsari Law Group today and let our legal team review your case. Don’t wait to get the legal support that you need. Call us at (727) 269-5300 or online to schedule a free consultation and learn if we may be able to help you.