What is Identity Theft?
Identity Theft involves the fraudulent act of illegally assuming the identity of another human being without their consent. Typically, the suspect will engage in Identity Theft with the intent of committing fraud, theft, exploitative acts, and harm with the hope of garnering personal profit or gain as result of their actions.
Identity Theft can occur in a variety of forums with a variety of expected results on the part of the perpetrator. Identity Theft has been recorded as involving activity ranging from the illegal forging of government documents to the theft of credit cards belonging to other individuals in order to make fraudulent purchases online.
The Ramifications of Identity Theft
Although Identity Theft can vary in nature, there are a multitude of results of this crime that span the severity of consequence. The most common type of Identity Theft is committed over the computer with regard to the reception of stolen property purchased as a result of illegally obtaining another individual’s financial data or information.
Due to the fact that the ability to purchase items and services through the internet creates a virtual marketplace in which credit card numbers as well as other pertinent financial information must be entered into websites, the risk for hijacked information and subsequent Identity Theft is increased. The following are some measures taken by online marketplaces in order to avoid Identity Theft suffered by their customers and clients:
• Secured websites
• Passwords and heightened profile-based security measures
• Telephone or email-based confirmation of purchases
• The investigation of purchases or activities that do not follow specific and individual trends of behavior
• Compensatory means and financial restitution sponsored by the commercial operation in question.
Identity Theft Offense Profile
1. Legal Jurisdiction: Criminal Law, Cyber Law, Financial Law, Administrative Law
2. Type of Crime: Misdemeanor or Felony – varies upon the nature of the crime
3. Criminal Code: Varies upon the location of the crime, including the applicable country, nation, state, or province
4. Range of Punishment(s): Fines, probation, associated penalties, or incarceration – varies upon case details
5. Duration of Punishment(s): Varies upon case details
6. Applicable Punishment(s): Varies upon individual intent, criminal record, criminal history, and the victim(s) involved. Punitive measures with regard to stolen property purchased as a result of theft can differ greatly in severity from forged Government documents and applications with the hopes of obtaining fraudulent certifications or Federal documents of permission. This includes Green Cards, Licenses to Drive, and Insurance Claims.
Identity Theft Allegations: Terminology and Associated Offenses
The following are commonly associated with charges of Identity Theft:
a. Misrepresentation: Falsely reporting or describing a product or service. In contrast to a fraud charge, misrepresentation does not always consist of the intent to deliberately misrepresent.
b. Theft: Illegally and unlawfully possessing the personal property belonging to another individual or entity.
c. Stolen Property: Property or items gained by illegal possession.
d. Fraud: The act of knowingly, purposefully, and deliberately misleading another individual or entity with the intent to swindle or manipulate.
e. Cyber Crime: A criminal act to which is colloquially regarded as ‘computer crime’. This type of crime is classified as any criminal activity that takes place, utilizes, or relies on a computer terminal in order to commit crime(s). Computer crime can be committed in many ways, including the use of the internet, the hijacking of online or digital data, or the participation in computer-based fraud.
f. E-Commerce: An electronic, internet-based commercial marketplace.
Arrest Process for Identity Theft
Individuals who have been served documentation in the form of an arrest warrant displaying an Identity Theft charge, or have already been arrested by law enforcement agents, are encouraged to cooperate with the arresting officers regardless of personal belief with regard to the charges. Individuals under arrest will be given the opportunity to consult with legal specialists subsequent to the arrest process. Resisting or fleeing from an Identity Theft arrest can result in harm, injury, and additional penalties. Upon arrest, an individual should be made aware of the following in order to prevent any further complication(s):
• Habeas Corpus
• Due Process
• The Presumption of Innocence.
Upon the arrest for an Identity Theft charge, this is the standard arrest protocol that must be upheld by any and all arresting officers. Miranda Rights include the Fifth Amendment, which states that an individual retains the right to remain silent in order to avoid incriminating themselves. This is also known as ‘pleading the Fifth’. In addition, Miranda Rights also guarantee the following rights with regard to an arrest:
a. The right to remain silent
b. The right for any words spoken during the arrest to be admissible during a trial
c. The right to consult with an attorney regardless of financial stature
d. The acknowledgement that the individual arrested for the Identity Theft charge understands the aforementioned rights.
The Preparation of an Identity Theft Defense
Individuals are encouraged to consult with attorneys specializing in criminal law and, if possible, those who focus on Identity Theft legality, fraud, and defense. In the construction of a defense, the individual may be asked to provide the nature of the Identity Theft in question, any included threats, the biographical information with regard to any and all victims, any previous arrests and/or convictions, evidence and witness testimony, full account of the details surrounding the event in question, and the arrangement for bail or bond.