A criminal charge on the rise in recent years is identity theft. Whether you are a victim or someone suspected of committing this white-collar crime, it may seem like a confusing prospect.
When the police suspect someone of identity theft, the investigation may start and end in a different place, depending on the details. Get a better idea of this crime and how the police may suspect someone of it.
What is identity theft?
When one person assumes the name of another in jest, it is not a crime. The element that does, however, make taking someone else’s identity an offense is doing so as part of a larger criminal act. Under the definition, identity theft involves gaining access to another’s sensitive information in an attempt to steal money or commit fraud. There is usually a financial benefit to the crime.
What information does the crime require?
Identity theft hinges on gaining certain sensitive information. Some of the elements captured in this enterprise include:
- Birth date
- Social Security number
- Driver’s license number
- Maiden or former name
Armed with any or all of these pieces, someone may assume another’s identity in one way or another.
What are typical examples of identity theft?
There are several ways someone may commit identity theft. The most common is using another’s credit card information to purchase items online. However, this is not the only type of identity theft perpetuated. Medical identity theft usually intends to get a physician to prescribe medication using another’s chart. Giving someone else’s name when arrested or during a background check is criminal identity theft.
Authorities continue to develop the means to find and stop identity theft.