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What does an accusation of identity theft mean?

On Behalf of | Oct 25, 2022 | CRIMINAL LAW - Criminal Appeals

Identity theft refers to the crime of using another person’s information in a manner that may allow you to benefit financially. This crime can carry serious prison time in Washington state and can dramatically impact the rest of your life.

You can be accused of multiple types of identity theft

Under criminal law, a variety of actions can fall under the category of identity theft. Categories of identity theft include:

  • Account takeover fraud
  • Using a victim’s identity to implicate them in a crime
  • Tax theft
  • Phishing
  • Credit card skimmers
  • Fake hotspots

Consequences of identity theft can be severe

Since identity theft is a white-collar crime, you may not initially worry about the potential ramifications of being convicted. However, potential penalties for identity theft convictions include:

  • Up to 20 years in prison
  • Up to $500,000 in fines
  • Required to pay back any stolen funds

Additionally, identity theft is a felony. A felony conviction can result in the following ramifications:

  • Ineligibility for certain employment opportunities
  • Inability to purchase firearms or vote
  • Difficulty renting houses or apartments

You risk having charges at multiple levels

An increasing focus on identity theft has occurred as knowledge of cybercrime rises. Due to the increased scrutiny of cyber-related identity theft, law enforcement at federal, state and local levels frequently work together to prosecute any type of identity theft. That means your charges could accumulate, and your potential prison time could grow.

Begin gathering evidence to support your defense immediately

The consequences of being found guilty of identity theft can affect the rest of your life. If you have been accused, it is important for you to begin thinking about what your defense will be for a potential trial. Maybe you had permission to use materials that did not belong to you, or perhaps you committed “accidental” identity theft. Gathering witnesses and evidence of any misunderstandings quickly can only help strengthen your case.