Identity theft is a serious crime that carries with it extensive jail time, extremely high fees and fines, and a damaged reputation that could follow an offender around for the rest of their life. Considered as a second-degree crime in New Jersey, the penalty for identity theft can be as high as 10 years in prison. The four following parameters are considered fraud by New Jersey law: The act of impersonating another person, false representation of identity, the use of another person’s personal information without their knowledge, and impersonating a representative for a business or organization.
Though these parameters are relatively straightforward, it is not uncommon for a person to be charged with identity theft for little known reasons. Some little known ways people could be charged with identity theft are:
Using a Minor’s Information
When an adult, even if they are a relative, parent or guardian uses a minor’s information for the sake of any kind of personal gain, that adult could find themselves charged with identity theft. This commonly occurs with parents who take out lines of credit, credit cards, or re-purposes bills into their child’s name to avoid paying or assuming responsibility for a debt.
Using a Deceased Person’s Information
When a person uses the information of another person who has died for any kind of gain, that person can find themselves facing identity theft charges. This often occurs between spouses. After a spouse or family member has passed on, failure to report them deceased while still using their assets often lands people in identity theft situations.
Using Another Person’s Information to Bully or Harass
This is one that often appears in the form of online pranks – someone who pretends to be someone else in order to harass or intimidate a person, be it for personal gain or not, can face charges of identity theft.
Using Another Person’s Medical Record
Often done in tandem with insurance fraud, someone using another person’s medical record in order to gain insurance or medical services can lead to identity theft charges.
Using Someone’s Information to Gain Employment
Utilizing another person’s information to meet qualifications for employment counts as identity theft, being that it is an act of misrepresentation.
The scenarios above are fairly uncommon, but it’s easy to see how mistakes, good intentions, and simple logic could lead someone to accidentally committing an identity theft crime. Identity theft carries with it serious charges and penalties. If you or a loved one is facing charges, contact a criminal defense lawyer today.