Identity theft is a serious criminal action that can lead to time in prison and hefty fines. People who steal others’ identities might do so intentionally, taking advantage of their accounts and attempting to seek financial benefits as a result.
There are times, though, when identity theft cases are based on misinformation. For example, someone purchasing items with a relative’s credit card might be accused of identity theft and arrested, but it could turn out that the individual was given permission to make the purchase by the cardholder.
Typically, consent is one of the few ways to defend yourself if you’re accused of stealing another person’s identity. Another defense may be if you accidentally used another person’s information. This might happen if you receive the wrong bank card in the mail and don’t notice the wrong name on the card or if you and a friend accidentally mix up your cards with the same appearance and make a purchase.
Many cases of identity theft start online
Many cases of identity theft start online, because that’s where it’s easier to make purchases as someone else without them knowing. For instance, look at any online shopping account. You may have card numbers saved there that are linked to your bank account or credit. If you do and someone breaks into that account, they’ll have access to the cards they need to spend your money, which results in a case of identity theft.
On the same subject, this is why people always have to log out of public computers if they’ve used their information. It’s easy for someone to accidentally make a purchase on another person’s account before realizing what they’ve done, essentially creating a case of a stolen identity.
What should you do if you’re accused of identity theft?
If you are accused of stealing another person’s identity, the best thing you can do is talk to your attorney right away about the steps you can take to prevent damage to your reputation. Your Tampa attorney will take time reviewing the alleged evidence against you and will talk to you about what you believe happened.
In some cases, misunderstandings can be cleared up early on. Other times, a lack of evidence can lead to charges being dropped. This is why it’s a good idea to work with someone familiar with the law as soon as possible. You want to do all you can to protect your freedoms.