Identity Theft Acts that Trigger Criminal Charges

Illinois federal crimes attorney, Illinois criminal attorney, Illinois defense lawyer,While the federal white collar crime known as identity theft is nothing new, statistics continue to illuminate the fact that identity fraud is an ever-growing problem across the nation, and across the globe. According to the FBI, the actual number of identity theft crimes committed every day is believed to be much higher than the publicly reported statistics we hear about.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that between the years 2010 and 2015 alone, identity theft complaints nearly doubled. The nature of these crimes can vary greatly, however, and law enforcement agencies often report the cases differently. This can make it difficult to consistently and accurately report every case for statistical purposes, so we often only hear about a fraction of the true number of identity theft cases that take place each year. For example, some identity theft crimes involve credit card fraud, while others involve mail theft or a combination of these types of fraud.

Common Identity Theft Tactics that Will Land You in Hot Water

Although the variety of identity theft crimes that exists is vast, there are a few common tactics criminals tend to use to achieve their goals. If you have been involved with any of the following activities or are currently being accused of being involved with one, it is important to be aware that you are at risk for a number of penalties, and many of them carry serious, long-term repercussions:

1. Shoulder surfing – This is a term used to describe one of the rawest forms of identity theft, which entails listening to someone’s phone conversation while they recite their credit card number, bank pin number, social security number, or other personal information, which is then used to steal funds. Criminals often shoulder surf in public places by listening to private conversations, phone calls, or spying on those conducting personal business on their laptops or telephones.

2. Activating credit cards under someone else’s name – This extremely common identity theft scheme involves retrieving discarded pre-approval credit card letters and opening up accounts under the victim’s name. This often takes place when individuals do not shred or tear up such approval letters after receiving them in the mail. Thieves dig up these letters from residential and commercial trash and also intercept mail, sending it to a different address, or sometimes even steal it directly from accessible mailboxes.

3. Internet and email phishing – Another illegal activity that is considered an identity theft crime is phishing, which is used to gather or access personal identification information via fraudulent emails. Criminals often send emails asking for personal information under the guise of a sales scheme or suggesting that an individual has been locked out of their account or needs to update a password of some sort. This prompts the unsuspecting victim to provide their personal data, which is in turn used to conduct fraudulent financial activity.

Apart from these common identity theft schemes, the FBI reports other tactics that prove to be just as harmful to someone’s credit and financial standing. One such tactic is the “smash and grab” burglary, which involves stealing hard copies of peoples’ driver’s licenses, credit cards, and checkbooks.

Where to Turn if You Are Accused

Identify theft crimes are constantly evolving as our technology changes over time. No matter what kind of fraud you may be involved in, if the activity involves using someone else’s information to acquire funds, such crime is taken very seriously under federal law. If you are currently under investigation for any form of identity theft, you need to speak with a knowledgeable Chicago federal criminal lawyer right away to ensure you are informed of your rights and properly represented in a court of law.  Call the Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel today at 312-629-0669 for a one-on-one consultation.

 

Sources:

https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/identity-theft/identity-theft-and-identity-fraud

https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/white-collar-crime/identity-theft

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