Identity theft has become more prevalent in recent years as the rapid growth in online transactions has made it easier to steal someone’s identity.
Bureau of Justice Statistics showed about 7 percent of people aged over 16 became victims of identity theft in 2014. In 2009, about 13.9 million people had their identities stolen in the United States. The public concern about identity theft is often reflected in the penalties for the crime.
The crime of identity theft takes place when the perpetrator unlawfully uses the identity of another person to obtain goods, services or another commodity of value.
There are two main types of identity theft recognized under Texas law.
1 Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information
You can commit the crime of fraudulent use or possession of identifying information if you use, possesses or transfer the identifying information of someone else without their consent.
Under the Texas Penal Code Section 32.51, this offense can be either a state jail felony or a felony of the first, second or third degree.
What Qualifies as Identifying Information?
You be charged with identity theft for stealing any of the following information:
2 Unauthorized Transfer or Acquisition of Certain Financial Information
If you record information on someone else’s credit card or bank card without permission or financial sight order information, you can be charged with identity theft.
Financial sight order information can be any information on a debit card or a credit card including the card number or account numbers, routing numbers, expiry date or the figures on the magnetic strip on the back.
It’s an offense to use a recording device such as a camera or a video camera to obtain this information, or if you read the numbers onto a voice recorder or write them down.
Obtaining financial information in this manner is a Class B misdemeanor crime, while passing the information on to a third party is a Class A misdemeanor offense.
The penalties for identity theft will depend on the crime. Conviction for unauthorized acquisition or transfer of certain financial information can lead to a maximum of up to one year in jail in Texas.
Fines may 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 be jailed
The courts will sometimes consider restitution in these cases as well. The offender will have to make payments to the victim of the crime.
At the Medlin Law Firm we provide vigorous representation for all forms of theft in Texas. If you have been charged with identity theft, you should act fast. Call us today at (682) 204-4066.