Identity theft happens when a person steals someone else’s personal information and uses it to acquire loans, credit cards, automobiles and other items. The thief may even use the victim’s identity to secure employment or avoid criminal charges. The information that perpetrators of identity theft seek includes: Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, bank account information and credit card information. With the growth of the Internet over the past few decades, identity theft has become an increasingly visible problem. Law enforcement, prosecutors and legislators have been focused on combating identity theft. If you have been involved with identity theft, for immediate assistance call William M. Butler, Jr. at 502-582-2020, he is an attorney who is familiar with the law of identity theft and the Internet, or contact him via email to schedule your initial confidential consultation. For over 28 years, he has skillfully defended thousands of clients, compiling an impressive record of positive results, and he can defend you too. Please see his Case Results and Testimonials.
How Does Identity Theft Happen?
We give out personal information in transactions nearly every day. Making a purchase online, for instance, and doing online banking involve the use of financial information. Filing taxes and applying for a job involve a Social Security number, and even using a credit card at a restaurant takes control out of our hands for a time.
Although identity theft can begin with finding a bank statement in a trash can, the Internet has become a more valuable resource for those who seek personal information on others. Some websites, like retail businesses or financial institutions, may not use proper security to protect client information. Other websites, no matter how up-to-date their software, may be vulnerable to attacks by hackers in search of personal information.
The Consequences of Identity Theft
Whether the thief uses the victim’s personal information to apply for and max out credit cards or to get a car loan that will never be paid off, the identity theft victim is left to deal with the consequences of the theft. The identity theft victim must spend countless hours closing accounts, writing letters and restoring his or her good name.
Federal law makes identity theft a crime punishable by imprisonment for up to fifteen years, plus forfeiture of all of the assets obtained as a result of the theft; a fine also may be imposed. 18 U.S.C. § 1028. If the identity theft occurred during and in relation to certain felonies, imprisonment for an additional two years will be added to the sentence already imposed for identity theft. 18 U.S.C. § 1028A. Identity theft may also be prosecuted under other federal laws, such as the laws against Social Security fraud and credit card fraud.
Most states have enacted criminal laws against identity theft. Some states have also enacted laws that provide for a civil suit by the victim against the thief. In the states that do not have a specific law against identity theft, the crime may be prosecuted under other laws, such as laws against fraud and theft of personal property.
Some victims of identity theft have taken legal action against the retailers and financial institutions that left their information vulnerable to thieves. If an identity theft victim is sued for nonpayment of a debt that was run up by the thief, the victim may involve the identity thief in the lawsuit in order to show who really incurred the debt.
Defenses to a Charge of Identity Theft
If you have been accused of identity theft, you may have certain defenses available. For example, the law may not cover the actions you allegedly took, or the victim in question may have allowed you to use the identity. You may be the victim of mistaken identity. The facts of your case will determine which defense to take. William M. Butler, Jr., is an experienced attorney, who can strategize with you on the best approach to your legal situation.
Secure Legal Counsel
As the public’s awareness of identity theft grows, authorities are increasingly aggressive in pursuing identity theft charges. For immediate assistance and to learn about the legal options that are available to you, call William M. Butler, Jr. at 502-582-2020, an attorney, who is familiar with the law of identity theft and the Internet, or contact him via email to schedule your initial confidential consultation.
DISCLAIMER: This site and any information contained herein are intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.
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