Identity Theft Defense Attorneys
When most people think of identity theft, they think of shadowy figures in foreign countries draining your back account and ruining your credit. But identity fraud is much more expansive than this.
Identity Fraud can be charged in both Superior and Federal Court. The full statutory language is available on the links, but this page will explore common types of identity fraud and provide background to acquaint you with this offense. Identity Theft often dovetails with a battery of other offenses, like Mail Fraud, Wire Fraud, Healthcare Fraud, Tax Fraud, and Social Security Fraud.
Common Types of Identity Theft
Financial Identity Theft:
Using someone else’s identity to take out a credit card, file for a loan, or make purchases is illegal. There are extremely narrow circumstances in which you may use someone else’s information, like if you have Financial Power of Attorney over a vulnerable adult and the financial transactions are performed to the benefit of the adult. Even if the person is your minor child, you still may not take out a loan or credit card in their name.
Medical Identity Theft:
Using someone else’s healthcare information to see a doctor, receive treatment, or fill a prescription is Medical Identity Theft. This type of Identity theft is often associated with other serious charges like Healthcare Fraud.
This type of fraud is taken extremely seriously because of the potential harm to the policy holder. Fraudsters could exhaust medical benefits of the policyholder, leaving them in a financial bind in further visits. Medical Identity Fraud could also be life threatening. A provider may choose a radically different course of treatment if insurance records incorrectly reflect they are on medication or have risk factors. A policyholder could also be incorrectly flagged as a drug seeker and denied necessary treatment because of this identity theft.
Online Identity Theft:
Online Identity theft is a thriving market in the digital age. Unsuspecting victims click on phishing links often masquerading as legitimate businesses or websites. Companies also suffer from data breaches occasionally, allowing scammers to copy consumer information.
Fraudsters use this information to access bank accounts, digital wallets, and other secured information. There is even a thriving black market for credit cards, online account log in information, and social security numbers.
- Authorization: Authorization or consent is a complete defense to certain types of Identity Fraud. As long as the “victim” is fully aware and consents to your use of their personal information then this defense applies. However, if the victim is a minor child or vulnerable adult, or was otherwise unable to consent then this defense does not apply. Likewise, it does not apply if you supersede the scope of the consent, i.e. take out a $100,000 loan when you were only authorized to take out $75,000. There are also things victims cannot consent to, like Medical Identity Theft.
- Lack of Intent: Prosecutors must prove that you had fraudulent intent. Even if you have another person’s information, as long as you did not use or attempt to use it for a fraudulent purpose then Identity Fraud is tough to prove. Likewise, if you accidentally used someone else’s information but did not intend to, then the State will have a difficult time proving intent.
- Illegal Search: If the alleged Identity Fraud was uncovered in the course of a warrantless or illegal search then it could be excluded under the “fruit of the poisonous tree” doctrine. This even includes if law enforcement had a warrant to search a narrow portion of your person or property and they exceeded that scope
As the Government cracks down on identity fraud, they cast a wider net. If you are subject of a criminal investigation for Identity Theft or any other white collar offense, Adams & Associates can help you navigate your case by providing zealous representation.