Have You Been Falsely Accused of Identity Theft? Here’s What You Need to Know to Avoid Accusations and Defend Yourself if the Unthinkable Does Occur

David Lindsey, Attorney at Law

Identity theft occurs when one person uses another person’s identifying information, most often to gain access to money. For instance, if a person uses your social security number to apply for credit in your name, it is an example of identity theft. Identity theft is illegal and can result in serious legal consequences. Additionally, the victim is faced with cleaning up the mess created by the identity thief – it can take months or years to restore good credit standing.

The FTC estimates that approximately 9 million Americans are victims of identity theft every year. Many do not even realize there is a problem until they are rejected for a loan or they review their credit report. More information about protecting yourself from identity theft is available here.

Accidental Identity Theft

Unfortunately, in addition to these many instances of legitimate identity theft, there are also times when accusations of identity theft are made against a person who had no intention of the breaking the law.

For instance, if your credit history is less than appealing and a friend suggests you to apply for credit in his or her name, you are breaking the law despite having permission. In addition to submitting a fraudulent credit application, your friend could also turn on you and accuse you of identity theft. This is highly likely if he or she is facing charges for willingly participating in the fraud.

In any instance an opportunity arises to use someone else’s identity, even if he or she has given you permission to do so, do not do it. Charges for committing fraud or identity theft do not require the so-called willing victim of the crime to report you or be unaware of your actions. Essentially, a defense of “but my friend said it was fine” will not carry much weight in the courtroom.

Likewise, if you gain information to the personal information of someone by accident, follow the appropriate steps for correcting the security breach. For instance, if you receive personal mail for someone who no longer lives at your residence, return the mail to the USPS.

Avoiding accusations of identity theft can be just as challenging as avoiding being victimized, depending on your circumstances. If you have been falsely accused of stealing someone’s personal information or you are in a situation that could result in accusations of a crime, you need to speak to an attorney familiar with identity theft. Contact David Lindsey, Denver criminal law attorney.

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