Identity theft crimes involve using sensitive personal information to steal money or property in a variety of ways, often remaining undetected until the victim discovers inconsistencies in his or her financial records. By the time this happens, the damage is usually already done and may take a significant amount of time to repair. Even when victims discover fraudulent charges or accounts they never opened early on, a great deal of work may be necessary—along with more than a few headaches—to dispute the charges and restore their standing with a financial institution.
How Stolen Identities are Used
Using someone’s identity allows a thief to open new accounts under the victim’s name, make charges on his or her credit cards, and even make withdrawals from his or her bank accounts. Other common scenarios involve tax-related theft, where a person’s refund is stolen, or medical-related theft, where the victim’s identity is used to acquire medical treatment under his or her health insurance plan.
The scope of these crimes can range greatly. Some might result in a few minor fraudulent charges that end up costing the victim nothing after dispute. Others include the theft of much larger amounts of money that end up severely damaging the victim’s credit and bank balances.
Reasons You May Be Accused of Identity Theft
If you are under investigation for being involved in an identity-related crime, chances are your name has somehow been tied to an activity that was discovered by the victim through methods such as:
- Mysterious medical bills: Identity theft victims will often receive medical bills or statements for services they never acquired that are in their name. Alternatively, the victim’s health insurance provider may reject medical claims when the record shows that he or she has already reached the benefits limit.
- IRS notifications: When more than one tax return is filed under someone’s name or when the IRS reports that a person received income from an employer they never actually worked for, the identity theft victim may eventually discover the crime when the IRS sends them notices informing them of the information on record.
- Debt collector calls: It is also common for victims to discover their identity was stolen when they begin receiving relentless telephone calls from debt collectors about debts they never incurred. Once they are aware of the mysterious debts, they often turn to their credit report and begin an investigation from there.
- Strange bank withdrawals: Whether it be a checking or savings account or charges on a credit card account that cannot be explained, strange bank withdrawals of any kind usually alert victims right away that their identity has been compromised. In some cases, the fraudulent activity may not be discovered immediately, as a victim may not notice such activity until skimming their monthly bank statements after some time has passed.
If you have tampered with someone’s personal information or have involved yourself in any way with an identity theft crime, you are at risk for being prosecuted under federal law. If you feel the accusations brought against you are unjust, it is imperative you speak with an experienced Kane County criminal defense attorney to protect your rights and your reputation. Call 847-488-0889 for a free consultation at The Law Offices of Brian J. Mirandola today.