What Are Identity Theft Laws in Georgia?
Have you been a victim of identity theft and unsure where to start getting the help you need to recover your identity? Anybody can be a victim, including you. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), shopping online was the second-most common category of fraud reported by consumers — elevated by the early days of COVID-19 in 2020.
In Georgia alone, identity theft is a big issue. Georgia led the nation in identity theft complaints per capita filed with the Federal Trade Commission in 2019, with 427 complaints per 100,000 Georgia residents — 44,888 complaints in total.
Many individuals are aware of identity theft and are concerned about being a victim of it. Identity theft is a serious offense that may have devastating financial, credit, criminal, and reputational implications. Add to that the psychological and emotional toll on victims and their loved ones.
We must safeguard ourselves and play an active role in helping to address these crimes, given the alarmingly high and rising number of identity theft cases submitted to the Federal Trade Commission each year. Identity thieves frequently target several victim categories. It includes the young, the elderly, military personnel, job seekers, and social media users.
This article will determine the various kinds of identity theft that we should be aware of at all times. Protect yourself and your loved ones by arming yourself with helpful information and advice. Become knowledgeable on what to do if you become a victim or are unfortunately accused of identity theft.
What Is Identity Theft and How Does It Occur?
Identity theft or fraud is defined as a crime in which someone exploits another person’s personal information without their permission to deceive or defraud them.
Identity theft happens when someone steals another person’s identity by using their personal information, such as their name, Social Security number, driver’s license number, credit card number, or other identifying information, to conduct fraud or crimes.
How Do Identity Thieves Get Your Personal Information?
Identity thieves obtain your personal information in various ways. The following are some of the common ones:
– By physically taking your wallet and handbag with your identification, as well as your credit and bank account cards.
– Taking advantage of the personal data you disclose on the internet.
– Defrauding you via email by impersonating businesses or government entities with which you do business.
– Getting your credit report falsely by impersonating a landlord, employer, or someone else with a valid need for and legal right to the data.
– Stealing your mail, including your bank account information, and pre-approved credit card statements, credit offers, new checks, and tax information are all on the table.
– Filling out a “change of address” form to forward your message to a different address.
– Acquiring your information from the workplace by taking files from offices where you are a client, employee, patient, or student. They could also pay an employee who has access to your data, or hacking into electronic files, known as business record theft.
How Can Identity Thieves Make Use of Your Personal Data?
Identity thieves may try to exploit your information fraudulently in a variety of ways, including:
– Pretending to be you and phone your credit card provider, requesting that your credit card account’s postal address be changed. The impostor then charges your credit card. Because your invoices are being sent to the new location, you may not know there is an issue for some time.
– Creating a new credit card account using your name, date of birth, and social security number. The overdue account is displayed on your credit record when they use the credit card and do not pay the bills.
– Under your name, they set up phone or wifi service.
– Creating a bank account in your name and using it to issue fraudulent checks.
– Forging checks or debit cards and using them to steal money from your bank account.
– Acquiring vehicles in your name by taking out auto loans.
– During an arrest, giving your name to the police. An arrest warrant is issued under your name if they are released from police custody but fail to appear for their court date.
– Filing for bankruptcy to avoid paying bills they’ve racked up under your name.
Identity Theft Law in Georgia
Using someone else’s identity is a felony in Georgia, according to the Identity Fraud laws (O.C.G.A 16-9-120 through 16-9-127).
A person commits identity fraud, according to O.C.G.A 16-9-121 if they:
– Use or obtain identifying information about a person without authority or agreement to use it fraudulently.
– Use an individual’s identifying information who is under 18 years old whom they have custodial control.
– Use or possess identifying information on a deceased person with the purpose to exploit it falsely.
– Create, use, or has in his possession any counterfeit or fake information about a fictitious person to make use such counterfeit or fictitious identifying information to perpetrate or facilitate the commission of a crime or fraud on another person; or
– Create, use, or possess any counterfeit or fictitious identifying information about a real person with the intent to use such counterfeit or fictitious information without authority or agreement to conduct or facilitate the commission of a crime or fraud on another person.
– Knowingly accept identifying information that they know is false, stolen, counterfeit, or fictional for the purpose of identification, they are committing identity fraud.
On the other hand, identity theft does not apply to a person under the age of 21 who uses fraudulent, counterfeit, or other fake identification cards to gain access to a commercial establishment or acquire products for which they are not of legal age. Other criminal legislation, however, will apply to this type of activity.
What Are Georgia’s Penalties for Identity Theft?
In Georgia, identity theft is a crime punishable by one to ten years in prison, a fine of up to $100,000, or both. A second conviction or succeeding for identity fraud carries a sentence of three to fifteen years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. A felony record might make it challenging to get work, find housing, get credit, vote, or acquire firearms in Georgia.
The court may require the offender to make restitution to the victims of their crime in addition to jail time or penalties.
A second conviction or succeeding for identity fraud carries a sentence of three to fifteen years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, or both. O.C.G.A 16-9-122.
Attempting to conduct identity fraud is also illegal. The attempt or conspiracy to commit identity fraud is punishable under Georgia law. The accused will be sentenced to jail, community service, a fine, or a combination of the three if convicted of attempting to commit identity fraud. However, the penalty for trying to conduct identity fraud cannot be more than the penalty for successfully committing identity fraud.
Hire the Best Identity Theft Lawyer in Georgia
Because so much of the evidence is technical, identity theft offenses can be difficult to defend against. If you have been falsely accused of identity fraud, you will need the assistance of an expert Georgia Criminal Law Attorney to navigate the legal system and prepare the best defense possible.
Andrew Schwartz has an enviable record of success in challenging criminal defense cases. He will work to develop a strong and effective defense of your rights and freedom. Mr. Schwartz devotes his entire practice to criminal defense, including:
– DUI-Both Driving under the Influence of Alcohol and/or Drugs
– Drug Charges, including Possession, Possession with Intent, Trafficking
– Theft, burglary and shoplifting
– White Collar and Internet Crimes
– Probation Violations
– Traffic Offenses
– Felony and Misdemeanor Charges
You probably have many questions about the criminal law process and what happens next. In a free, no-obligation consultation, Mr. Schwartz can evaluate your situation and discuss your legal options. For a free initial consultation with a criminal lawyer in Cobb County GA, call 678-853-2500 or contact us online today.
Andrew L Schwartz has the experience necessary to help you every step of the way, including bonds, arraignment, plea negotiations, motions, appeals, trials, and expungements. If you have been charged with a crime, contact Andrew today. Our firm serves the Cobb County area.
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