Know the Law
There are three important federal statutes addressing identity crime:
|The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1988, 18 U.S.C. § 1028 (a)(7)12||It is a federal offense to knowingly transfer or use, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid and abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.||Up to 15 years imprisonment, fines and forfeiture of personal property used in commission of the crime.|
|The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), 15 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., as amended by the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACTA), Pub. L. No. 108-159, 117 Stat. 1952 (Dec. 4, 2003)13||Requires consumer agencies, creditors, etc., to help victims recover, and to take additional steps to prevent and detect identity theft. Creates new victims rights such as fraud alerts with accompanying free credit reports, getting business documents, and blocking identity theft information in credit reports. This law also entitles consumers to a free credit report once per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies.||Noncompliance could open a company up to a federal or state law enforcement action, resulting in civil penalties and injunctive relief. For example, the Federal Trade Commission can obtain up to $2,500 per violation for knowing violations of the FCRA. Victims can also bring private FCRA actions against companies for willful or negligent noncompliance, exposing them to monetary penalties, punitive damages, and attorney fees.|
|The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act, 18 U.S.C. § 1028 A14||Creates a category of crime called “aggravated identity theft,” which is using the identity of another to commit serious federal offenses or predicate crimes such as immigration violations, theft of federal funds, or improper receipt of Supplemental Security Insurance Benefits or Social Security Benefits.||Adds two years to an offender’s time without parole, or five years without parole in the case of a terrorist act.|
In addition, every state has its own statute making identity theft a crime. Investigators can check most current state laws and comparative matrix at www.idsafety.org/map.