Identity theft is defined as the fraudulent use of another person’s name and personal information to obtain credits, loans, etc. Identity theft is a serious crime in which a person’s information is used by another person to obtain documents, open accounts or commit crimes in the name of the person whose information was used.
The information used may include:
- Social security;
- Phone number;
- Bank account; and
- Credit cards.
The punishment given to an offender who attempts or commits identity theft depends on if the crime is a felony or misdemeanor. If the crime is a felony, the offender will face imprisonment for a period that ranges from one to twenty years depending on the felony class it is recognized as and/or a fine that extends to $100,000. If the crime is a misdemeanor, the punishment will be a fine that may go up to, but not exceed $2500 and/or a period of one year or else in jail.
Identity theft may be classified as a misdemeanor of class A or class one or a felony of any other certain class. This depends on the extent to which the victim was affected. If the victim had a financial loss of $200, the identity theft will be recognized as a class six felony. If the information used belongs to five different people then the crime will be classified as a class five felony. If 50 different people’s documents or personal information was used, the case will be dealt with as a class four felony.
An identity theft is considered a class A or class one misdemeanor when the offender intended to harass the victim by threatening to publish the victim’s private information. The punishment for such crime will be a fine which may reach but not exceed $2500 and/or jail time for a period that may reach one year. if the victim is a public officer, the case will be treated as a class six felony.
An identity theft where the offender tries to use a credit card that does not belong to him/her will result in the crime being classified as a class six felony if the amount used or taken from the credit card is more than $200. The punishment in such a case is a period from one to five years in prison. If the value used or taken from the credit card is below $200, the case will be judged as a class A or class one misdemeanor crime.
The information used by the offender may be from the following:
- Date of birth;
- Security number;
- Driver’s license number;
- Bank account numbers;
- Credit card numbers;
- Debit card numbers;
- Person identification numbers;
- Electronic identification codes;
- Automated or electronic signatures;
- Biometric data;
- Passwords; and
- Any identification number used to get money, goods or services.
Virginia identity theft laws classify identity theft crimes as either felonies or misdemeanors. If they are felonies then they are either class five or class six felonies. If they are said to be misdemeanors then they are class one misdemeanors.