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Identity theft: A serious crime with serious consequences

Regardless of where you live in the United States, identity theft is a serious crime with the potential for serious consequences if convicted.

As the name implies, this crime comes into play when someone wrongfully obtains the personal data of another person in a way that involves deception or fraud.

Identify theft laws make it a crime to misuse identifying information of another person, including things such as credit history, Social Security numbers and bank PIN numbers.

Although this crime doesn't physically harm anyone, it's still one of the most damaging types of crimes in the nation. Not only can it cost the victim time and money, but it can wreak havoc on his or her mental state as well.

Thanks to the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, which was passed in 1998, identity theft is a federal crime. Depending on the type of crime, a number of government agencies could find themselves involved during the investigation and prosecution: Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Postal Inspection Service and Federal Trade Commission.

While most people understand that identity theft is a serious crime, it remains a problem throughout the country.

Unfortunately, there are times when a person can be charged with this crime when he or she didn't knowingly do anything wrong. For example, there may be a miscommunication between two people in regards to one having the permission to use another's identifying information.

If you are charged with the crime of identity theft you need to understand what went wrong, your legal rights and the best type of defense strategy.

Source: FindLaw, "Identity Theft," accessed March 21, 2018

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