Identity theft is a serious problem in the United States. It can happen in many ways, but one of the most common is for someone's credit cards or banking details to be stolen and used by another person. The person who takes another person's identity can face serious penalties like fines and time in prison. If you're accused of stealing another person's identity, it's important to defend yourself immediately. You may be able to avoid serious penalties or be able to reduce your sentence if you are found to be guilty.
Is it always a crime to use someone else's identity?
In most states, it's a crime to misuse someone else's identity, whether that information is personal or financial in nature. Sometimes, people give permission for others to use their credit or debit cards; for instance, a parent may give one to a child. However, if the person's ID doesn't match the information being provided, stores shouldn't accept them without a PIN number.
Are all cases of identity theft intentional?
Identity theft may not always be intentional depending on the situation. There are situations where you could use someone's credit card or other information without realizing it. For example, public computers that save information may not log out a patron, and that would result in you using their profile and potentially accessing their information on public websites. If credit card information was saved, it might even be possible to purchase something using the card without realizing that you used someone else's information. That's why it's so important to log out each time you use a public system.
Source: FindLaw, "Identity Theft," accessed April 21, 2016