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Criminal charges

identity theft

Identity theft is generally a financial crime that involves the use of illegally obtained information about another person—such as name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, and credit card numbers—in order to use existing credit accounts or open new ones in the other person’s name. When this happens, criminals capture the spending power of another person’s credit while sticking the victims (individuals, financial institutions, merchants) with the bill.

Laws regarding identity theft vary from state to state in their naming, classification, and penalties—with criminal offenses such as “Unauthorized Acquisition or Transfer of Certain Financial Information,” “Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information,” “Unlawful Possession of Personal Identifying Information,” “Identity Theft,” “Identity Fraud,” “False Personation,” or “Criminal Impersonation.”

Laws related to identity theft are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code.

In Texas, identity theft is addressed under the Texas Penal Code, particularly in Section 32.51, which defines the offense as 'Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information.' This statute makes it illegal to obtain, possess, transfer, or use someone else's personal identifying information without their consent for the purpose of harm or fraud. The severity of the offense can range from a state jail felony to a first-degree felony, depending on factors such as the amount of information obtained and the age of the victim. Texas law also provides for enhanced penalties if the victim is an elderly individual. Additionally, victims of identity theft in Texas have certain rights, including the right to file a police report and to obtain a declaration from the court verifying that they are a victim of identity theft, which can help in the process of correcting their credit and financial records.

Legal articles related to this topic

Identity Theft: Law, Legal Issues, and Solutions
Identity theft occurs when someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data, typically for economic gain, through deception or fraud.