Identity Theft Punishment.
Identity Theft Punishment Works – It is a deterrent against
using somebody else’s identity to commit fraud. But you can also play
your part in preventing this crime.
although by no means a new crime, increased dramatically with the
arrival of the Internet, credit cards, electronic banking and easier
access to credit.
What a wonderful age it is that we live in. You can check your bank
statement, or take out a loan, right from your home computer. You can
order goods, book a flight or pay a debt without leaving home.
are out and about and you need cash, you can get it from a hole in the
All these marvels of convenience do have a dark side though. They all
give criminals more opportunity to commit fraud in your name. All they
need is a few items of your personal information.
Do these fraudsters get caught and punished?
Yes they do, maybe they don’t get caught often enough or fast enough, but they do get caught.
days they get their deserved punishment too, but that was not always
the case. Until comparatively recently, the crime of identity theft was
hardly recognized and identity theft punishment was almost non existent.
We can take a look at some of these recent identity theft laws and how they relate to identity theft punishment.
we can ask if punishing the fraudsters harshly deters them from
committing ID theft again. More importantly, we can think about what we
can do to prevent this crime.
Identity Theft Punishment – Recent Acts.
Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act.
act, passed in Oct 1998, makes a Federal Crime of knowingly using or
transferring, without lawful authority, another persons means of
identification with intention of committing, or aiding in committing,
unlawful activity constituting a violation of federal law, or that
constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.
identity theft and assumption deterrence act defines a means of
identification as, a name, credit card number, social security number,
date of birth, taxpayer identification number, or in fact, any item of
information, either used alone or used in combination with other items
of information to identify an individual.
When fraudsters get caught they deserve to be taught a lesson.
The legislation defines any individual whose identity has been stolen as a true victim of ID theft.
makes the crime punishable (in most circumstances) with a prison
sentence of up to 15 years maximum and a $250,000 maximum fine. And a
good thing too.
The act also charged the F.T.C. with the
responsibility to acknowledge the receipt of complaints by individual
victims, assist individual victims and educate victims and potential victims about identity theft.
identity theft and assumption deterrence act may function as a guide
for individual states similar identity theft punishment and laws. NCSL Identity Theft State Statutes. So your state may have some differences in the penalties for ID theft, but should not stray too far from the act.
Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act.
2004 act states that anyone engaging in a specified felony while
using, transferring, or even just in possession of the identity of
another individual, the identity theft punishment shall be a jail
sentence of two years.
The two years is in addition to any jail time given for the federal crime.
When the federal crime is a terrorist act, either international or domestic, the additional sentence shall be five years.
The act specifies that the two prison sentences cannot be served
concurrently, that is served at the same time. The identity thief must
serve the primary sentence and then the additional sentence.
Identity Theft Enforcement and Restitution Act.
your identity stolen can cost you plenty. It can cost you plenty of
your time chasing around trying to rectify the damage done by an
It can also cost you a lot of cash to clear your name
and restore your credit rating.
The identity theft enforcement and
restitution act demands that when someone convicted of ID theft is
ordered by the court to pay restitution, the victim will receive some of
that money to compensate for the time and trouble arising from the
actions of the criminal.
The act also permits federal courts to punish the fraudster when they live in the same state as their victim. Previously federal courts could only prosecute if the identity thief accessed the victim’s computer from another state.
changes and a few other amendments to the law brought about by the act,
means that identity theft punishment now has more clout, and that can
only be a good thing.
Does Identity Theft Punishment Work?
was once the custom in some parts of the world to cut of the hand of a
thief to prevent him stealing again. It is very possible that some
resourceful thieves found ways and means to carry on with their crimes
without their hand.
It is now the norm to jail an identity thief, a
consequence of which is that while incarcerated he will not be able to
commit identity crime. That is the theory anyway . . . but incredibly
it has been reported that one inmate, on ID theft charges, was able to
carry on his operation by phone whilst in jail!
Does Identity Theft Punishment Deter?
well as denying the thief his, or her liberty, it is hoped that a
stretch in jail will act as a deterrent. Not only to deter the criminal
from resuming his wicked ways upon release, but to deter others from
attempting the crime.
Does it work? Well, there are monumental
amounts of money to be made from identity fraud. That must be a major
incentive, not only for individual thieves, but also for identity theft
gangs and networks.
As well as denying the thief his, or her liberty, it is hoped that a stretch in jail will act as a deterrent.
Then there is the remoteness of the crime. Some identity fraudsters are able to operate from far afield, often from overseas.
that steal your identity from your computer for example, do not get
physically seen. They feel safe.
Perhaps they feel out of the reach of
the law and that, no mater what the identity theft punishment is, the
risk for them being caught is small.
Then there is the ego of the perpetrator.
Many identity thieves are very smart. As new, robust measures are put in
place to prevent ID theft, the fraudsters set to work to develop ways
to circumvent those security measures. If they succeed it is a boost to
Even severe identity theft punishment may be insufficient deterrent.
Of course identity fraudsters are very often caught and made to pay
the penalty for their crimes. Also there can be no doubt that the
increased penalties for identity theft have made more than a few
criminals think twice.
Can The Punishment For Identity Theft Ever Be Enough?
you have been a victim and the identity thief was caught, it is likely
that whatever punishment he received didn’t satisfy you.
This is understandable. He made your life a mess and it cost you much time and effort to get that mess sorted out.
what a wonderful outcome, the culprit has been caught. He or she
deserves punishing. The crook has, after all, been pretending to be you
and ruining that good credit record that you have established over the
You can’t wait for sentencing. What’s the swine going to
get? Ten years with a big mountain of rocks to break? A dark, damp and
dirty cramped dungeon? A bread and water diet plan? Thumbscrews, the
No, but he is very likely to get jail time and now that the
penalties for identity theft are more severe, that jail time can be a
Identity Theft Punishment Or Identity Theft Prevention?
Identity theft punishment is very necessary. When fraudsters get caught, they deserve to be taught a lesson.
However the plain fact is – prevention is better than punishment.
It is better that we all do everything that we can to prevent identity theft
from happening to us. If we become victims, it is sweet if the
perpetrators are brought to justice and punished accordingly. It is
sweeter if we receive a measure of restitution for all the pain, hassle
and financial loss that we suffered.
How much better though, not to have our identities stolen in the first place.
We may not be able to completely eliminate the risk, but there is a heck
of a lot we can do. We can be very careful about what personal
information we revel and to who we reveal it to.
We should be careful
about how we store and dispose of, any documents that contain our
By being wary of unsolicited phone calls from strangers, we can take
care not to disclose information that could be used to steal our
identity. Phone Scams.
being aware that danger can lurk within emails, particularly
unsolicited emails, and knowing the signs to look for, we can prevent
falling victim to a Phishing Scam.
can take great care online. We can ensure that we have up to date virus
protection and a robust firewall. We can be careful about what we
download and about which sites we visit. We can ensure that we always
use Secure Passwords.
by doing all of the above and more, we can greatly reduce the risk of
identity fraud, better by far than the harshest identity theft
Identity Theft Prevention
Identity Theft Punishment.
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