The Chicago Sun-Times put a call out to people this week to be extra cautious in protecting themselves against identity theft. They caution that identity theft is often more of a problem in the summer when people let their guard down and are out traveling. Because there are many ways thieves can steal your identity, they give several tips for protecting yourself.
Identity theft refers to someone using your personal identifying information, like your social security number, to obtain goods, credit, or services under your name. Not only can identity theft result in large financial loss but also in negative effects to your credit and your state of mind.
Having your identity stolen most often catches people off guard. Not only are they shocked when they find out what happened but even more so when they find out how. Because it’s quite easy for a thief to steal your identity.
The Sun-Times article suggests leaving your social security card at home when on vacation. They also recommend taking no more than 2 credit cards with you and leaving your debit card behind altogether. Also, have someone check your mail while you are gone.
Simple things that reduce the risk of identity theft make it much harder for people out to take advantage of your good name and good credit.
Identity thefts, and most other forms of fraud, are crimes committed by people who aren’t thinking about the impact they’ll have on the victim. Not only do they not think they’ll get caught but they’re often surprised by the strict penalties that come with being charged with a crime like this.
Identity theft is a felony charge. The exact classification of felony you face depends on the financial loss of the crime committed. For instance, if the victim loss is less than $300, you face Class 4 felony charges and up to 3 years in a penitentiary. The penalty for an identity theft valued more than $10,000 is up to 30 years in a penitentiary.
Your criminal history also plays a big role in the sentencing phase and the determining of your specific penalty. If you are facing a charge of identity theft, you need a defense attorney fighting to ensure you get the best possible results.
Probation may be a possibility depending on your specific circumstances and the prosecutor’s willingness to make a plea bargain. Together we can analyze your options and discuss what’s best for you. Contact our attorneys today for a free consultation on your case.