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What Is Identity Theft In California?

 Posted on August 09, 2021 in Criminal Defense

CA defense lawyerIn 2020, there were nearly 1.4 million reports of identity theft across the country. That is a 113 percent increase from the year before. If state and federal authorities were not already prioritizing investigating identity theft crimes, they most likely are now. California was actually ranked the most dangerous place for fraud and identity theft.

The Federal Trade Commission, which is tasked with leading the charge against identity theft, defines it as a type of fraud in which you use or attempt to use a person’s identifying information without permission. Like most states, California law regarding identity theft mirrors that definition. While there are many similarities between the two, state law has some specifics. So, what is identity theft in California?

Identity Theft

Identity theft laws are concerned with the misuse of personal information, so the first important question to ask is: what is considered personal information? Well, it is a wide range of things. It could be a person’s social security number, maiden name, bank account or credit card information, passwords, or simply the person’s name.

Typically, when you commit identity theft, you are using personal information in order to gain some kind of benefit, usually financial, or cause harm. According to the California Penal Code, there are four different types of identity theft:

  • Unauthorized use of a person’s personal identifying info
  • Fraudulently possessing another person’s personal identifying info
  • Fraudulently selling, transferring, or conveying another person’s personal identifying info
  • Selling, transferring, or conveying another person’s personal identifying info for unauthorized use

Under California law, identity theft could be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony, but it depends on the extent of the damage, the victim, and your criminal history. Also, if you use an individual's info multiple times, you could face multiple counts.

If convicted of misdemeanor identity theft, you could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and a fine. If convicted of felony identity theft, you could face up to three years in prison and a fine.

Contact a Santa Clara County Identity Theft Defense Lawyer

Identity theft is a growing concern for most local, state, and federal authorities, so if you are charged with identity theft or other financial crimes, you should contact a seasoned San Jose, CA criminal defense attorney who knows how to navigate complex identify theft laws. Attorney Cory Fuller knows how to defend against such fraud. Contact the Fuller Law Office for a free consultation. Call 408-234-7563 today.





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