Identity theft is the deliberate use of another person’s identity for personal gains. By taking over the identity of another person, it allows the impersonator to take funds from the victim’s account, use his credit cards, use his social security number to get loans, file for bankruptcy, get a job or even commit crimes like traffic violations or serious offenses.
The victim not only suffers financial losses but he also has to endure psychological trauma and live in constant fear of being robbed all over again.
To fight ID theft, which is growing rampantly, President George W. Bush signed a legislation in 2004 that amended the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act. This legislation ended up increasing the penalties for ID theft in addition to what was already in existence.
The Act added additional two years for knowingly transferring, possessing or using, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person. Furthermore, penalty for terrorist acts internationally or domestic using stolen identity has been enhanced to twenty five years from five years.
Investigations of identity theft are carried out by the Department of Justice along with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. Identity thefts carry penalties as high as 30 years in prison and/or substantial amounts of fines. Under the federal law, all identity thefts attract a penalty of 5 years instead of the earlier 3 years. In addition, for aggravated identity theft, a person should be prepared to spend additional 2 years along with the 5 years.
With laws against identity theft in place, you should do your bit to ensure that any issues are reported to law enforcement agencies and credit card issuing company. This will ensure that the perpetrator is apprehended and punished.