Identity theft is a serious crime that is on the rise in Pennsylvania.
When someone steals your identity, there's a cascade of problems and inconveniences you have to deal with. You may have to cancel your credit cards, replace your driver's license, track down the illegal transactions that were made in your name, and recover the money that was stolen from you.
More and more people are getting tricked into giving away their sensitive information, such as passwords and financial account information, to online identity thieves. The story of a Hartley Township woman shows how this can happen and what's at stake.
A 68-year-old Millmont woman received a notification on her phone that her Amazon account had been hacked. So, she contacted a person whom she thought was a member of Amazon's customer support team. The woman gave that person access to her phone and financial accounts. Shortly thereafter, she discovered that she was missing $3691. The woman found out sometime after reporting the incident to the police that the whole thing was an identity theft scam conducted through an app called Any Desk.
What Constitutes Identity Theft in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania defines the crime of identity theft as the use or possession of “identifying information” of another person by any means, without their consent, to further an unlawful purpose. Identity theft is one of the most common cybercrimes in the state.
A person's identifying information includes information that isn't generally available to the public, such as a person's Social Security Number, bank account number, driver's license number, and a person's electronic signature. It also includes information that may be publicly available, such as a person's name, telephone number, and date of birth.
People Who Commit Identity Theft in Pennsylvania Face Serious Consequences
Pennsylvania takes identity theft very seriously and imposes severe penalties on those who commit identity theft crimes. The punishment varies depending on the circumstances of the case, but generally, someone who steals $2000 or more by identity theft faces up to seven years in jail and a $15,000 fine. If the victim is over the age of 60 or younger than 18, the penalty increases.
Each use of the stolen information counts as a separate offense. So, for example, if a person steals someone's credit card number and uses it multiple times, they commit a separate offense each time they use the stolen credit card number.
Identity theft defendants can also face federal prosecution for their crime if the criminal activity somehow crosses state lines.
The Lento Law Firm Can Help Anyone Involved in an Identity Theft Crime
As more and more people turn to the internet to socialize, shop, attend class, pay bills, and do just about everything, the likelihood of being involved in an identity theft crime in Pennsylvania increases exponentially. If you're the victim of identity theft or have been accused of stealing someone's identity, you need immediate legal assistance.
Their knowledgeable Criminal Defense Team has years of experience advising and helping Pennsylvania residents who have had their identities stolen or who have been accused of identity theft. Contact the Lento Law Firm at 888-535-3686, or submit a confidential online consultation form.