Most states in America now recognize identity theft as a serious crime. Connecticut is no different. Identity theft constitutes a Class B, C, or D felony depending on the circumstances of the crime. In addition, Connecticut considers it a crime to transfer one person’s personal identifying information to someone else without consent. Just as in the case of harassment, identity theft constitutes a crime processed in the criminal court; however, in addition, the victims of identity theft may bring civil lawsuits against the perpetrators.
Definition of Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when one person uses someone else’s personal identity information without the consent of the victim. The perpetrator has to use this information for illegal purposes for it to constitute identity theft. Today, identity theft no longer just occurs through intercepting mail, breaking into people’s homes, or watching targets. Also, people can commit identity theft by hacking computers or obtaining information about a person online.
There is a whole range of identity theft crimes in Connecticut. These include:
- Third degree identity theft, punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to five years in prison.
- Second degree identity theft, which occurs when the identity theft involves goods of more than $5,000. This crime is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $15,000.
- First degree identity theft, which occurs when the theft involves goods valued at over $10,000. The punishments for this crime are the same as for second degree identity theft.
In addition to these specific crimes, there are two broad types of identity theft in Connecticut. The first is true name identity theft, and it occurs when one person uses another person’s personal information in order to open new accounts. This may be done by creating a new credit card account, opening a checking account, creating a new cell phone service, etc. The other type of identity theft is account takeover identity theft. In this case, one person pretends to be another person by using their personal information in order to get access to this person’s already existing accounts. One common way that account takeover identity theft happens is by altering the mailing address on an account, giving them access to it.
Protecting Your Rights
No matter what type of identity theft you are being accused of, it is important to act now and start building your defense. The best way to do this is by enlisting the help of a criminal defense lawyer who has worked with identity theft cases in the past. Such a lawyer will have the experience and knowledge to defend you.