Identity theft has become more prevalent over the last two decades in Texas and elsewhere. A recent study found the state is considered to be one of the most vulnerable places in the country for the crime.
The survey for WalletHub found it’s one of the states most susceptible to identity theft and fraud.
The credit-monitoring and financial analysis site considered information from the Federal Trade Commission, the Internet Crime Complaint Center and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The study found that nationally in 2016 there were 901 reported breaches up to November with access to more than 34 million records.
Texas, California and Florida were among the most vulnerable states to identity theft and fraud.
Texas has some strict identity theft laws but this does not prevent the crime being prevalent in the Lone Star State.
Statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed about 7 percent of people aged over 16 were victims of identity theft in 2014. Every year as many as 14 million people have their identities stolen in the United States.
The penalties for identity theft in Texas vary depending on the crime. Fines range from $1,000 for a misdemeanor, while felony fines can be up to $10,000. Some people who are convicted of identity theft will end up in jail.
If you are convicted of unauthorized acquisition or transfer of certain financial information, you can be incarcerated for up to a year.
The courts will also consider restitution in these cases as well. The offender will have to make payments to the victim of the crime.
The lack of intent to harm another or to deceive may constitute a defense. A mistake of fact is another defense. Minors are likely to receive a less serious sentence.
If you have been charged with identity theft or fraud, our Fort Worth criminal defense attorney can help you.