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What is identity fraud?

When a person takes personal details from another without his or her knowledge and uses them for personal gain, it is known as identity fraud or identity theft. In the age of digital, it is more common than ever for a person to be affected. It can commonly happen when a person unintentionally gives away his or her personal details online. But it can also happen in environments such as the office, workplace, a restaurant or store.

What the law says about identity fraud

It is a crime in most states to use another person's information in a way that it is not intended to be used, whether the person knows about the use or not. The types of data included in this law are things such as Social Security numbers, credit card pin numbers, credit details, bank details and passports.

How does a person commit identity fraud?

There are two main ways that a person is able to commit identity fraud. One strategy that people take is by illegally accessing governmental databases in order to gain information. Another way is to steal (permanently or temporarily) identifying information such as mail, ID cards, credit cards, passports or phones. Because of the internet, it is easier than ever for a person to quickly do damage with the information that he or she is able to attain.

Identity theft is a crime that holds serious consequences, and can lead to a criminal record that could jeopardize the convicted person's career. It is important to consider all options if being charged with a crime in relation to the use of another's identity.

Source: Findlaw, "Identity theft," accessed Oct. 20, 2017

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