Our identities are unique to each of us, and we turn to them to make our own separate way through life. As technology continues to play a more and more important role in society, our individual identities become that much more important and that much more vulnerable. In fact, identity theft continues to increase, and it involves fraudulently or deceptively using someone else’s identity or identifying personal information for one’s own personal financial gain, and these charges are serious.
If a charge of identity theft has been levied against you, discussing your concerns with an experienced Temple criminal defense attorney is in your best interests.
Common Forms of Identity Theft
Identity theft comes in a variety of wide-ranging forms.
Phishing refers to tricking or coaxing someone into providing his or her personal, identifying information via technological means, which often involves posing as a representative from a trusted business entity. As our reliance on technology increases, so too do phishing tactics. The kind of information that is generally sought include:
Social security numbers
Credit card information
Bank account numbers and codes
Account takeovers have become a major problem – and they often involve massive business enterprises and tens of thousands (if not more) of hacked accounts. This especially damaging form of fraud involves hackers finagling their way into a company’s sensitive customer information. The weak link in these takeovers generally involves lackluster encryption (which, to be fair, can have a very difficult time keeping up with hackers’ audacity, innovation, and ambition).
Over the years, mail theft has become more and more sophisticated. What once involved stealing checks out of mailboxes and cash out of birthday cards has evolved into covertly intercepting credit card and banking information – often in large quantities – and employing the information to make unauthorized purchases.
Driver’s License Identity Theft
Another form of identity theft involves the theft of a driver’s license (rather than a credit card or another financial tool). A driver’s license includes much of the information necessary to engage in other forms of identity theft and can be used as a means of falsely identifying oneself during a traffic stop.
The State of Texas Takes Identity Theft Seriously
Texas is tough on crime, and this includes identity theft. Under the state’s definition of the crime, anyone who – without the other person’s knowledge – obtains, uses, has, or transfers someone else’s personal information with the intention of causing harm or committing fraud is guilty of identity theft. Most identity theft convictions lead to both jail time and hefty fines.