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When Is Identity Theft Considered Criminal Identity Theft

Identity theft is often viewed as a crime where personal information is obtained by a criminal. Theft of goods, money, and credit soon follows. Legal Yogi would like you to understand that is not always true. There are several types of identity theft. Criminal identity theft occurs when a person uses someone else’s identity during an arrest, investigation, or questioning. Criminal identity theft cases even exist where the perpetrator has been arrested and convicted using the name of another person, leaving that innocent person with an unearned criminal record. Identity theft criminals are often able to pose as you, because they had your social security number and other relevant information and were able to obtain a driver’s license in your name.

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How are criminals able to assume someone else’s identity?

Many times the victim has no idea they have been victimized until something drastic happens, such as getting pulled over for a routine traffic stop, and suddenly finding yourself handcuffed, in the back of the squad car, headed for jail. In most of these cases, someone (often someone the victim knows) has gotten enough records and information on the victim to get a social security card and maybe even a driver’s license in the name of the victim.

Occasionally, someone is arrested, and they just give the name of another person, get booked and released, and no one is the wiser until they don’t show up for court, a bench warrant is issued by the judge for failure to appear, and somewhere down the road, the unsuspecting victim is apprehended as a criminal.

Criminal identity theft statistics show that this type of identity theft is becoming more commonplace. There are organized efforts by certain criminals to commit criminal ID theft by paying for personal information, such as driver’s licenses, so that they can appear to be someone other than themselves if they are arrested when committing a crime.

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What to do if You are a Victim of Criminal Identity Theft

If you are a victim of Criminal Identity Theft, the burden for clearing your name falls to you. You can hire an attorney, spend tons of money and countless hours trying to determine what it is you need to do in order to clear your name, and then more hours doing it, or you can take advantage of one of the identity theft services like the one at, and let experts take care of it for you. No matter what you decide to do, you must act quickly. The first step is to contact your local police department immediately. Your second step should be to contact the Federal Trade Commission, the national clearinghouse for all types of Identity theft, at 1-877-382-4357. Those are the first and most important steps you can take in beginning to clear your name; but never think it is going to be easy, since there is no standard protocol for clearing an erroneous criminal record.

Penalties for Criminal Identity Theft

For many years, there were relatively no charges, and even fewer ways to prove an identity thief guilty of criminal theft charges, but criminal charges for identity theft were declared a federal crime in 1998. Further, in 2004, the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act instituted an additional mandatory 2 year sentence to be added to the original sentences of anyone convicted of aggravated identity theft, so rest assured if you decide it is a good idea to commit identity theft, criminal charges will be sure and severe.

Criminal identity theft is a serious matter. The user friendly, no-obligation information provided here can get you on track to protect your identity, but it is important that you act today!