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What is identity theft? 

On Behalf of | Oct 21, 2022 | Criminal Defense

The term “identity theft” is relatively common but its meaning is rarely elaborated on. Essentially, the crime occurs when someone fraudulently uses the personal information of another individual for their own personal gain.

In practical terms, there are several ways that this can occur, and with advancing technology, new methods are coming to light all the time. Outlined below are two examples of how identity theft can happen: 

Medical identity theft 

America utilizes an insurance system to provide its citizens with medical care. This means that to receive treatment, personal information such as a Social Security number (SSN), medicare details and health insurance information is required.

There are a number of ways that this information can be used by another party for their own personal gain. For instance, by stealing this information, an individual could file a fraudulent insurance claim or receive medical care without having to pay. 

Synthetic identity theft 

Synthetic identity theft occurs when an individual attempts to create a new identity using fake personal information blended with some legitimate personal information from an individual.

For instance, the name of this new person, their date of birth and other details might all be made up, but have been paired with a legitimate SSN from somebody else. Through credit card applications and other transactions, the idea is that the fake identity gains ground and becomes usable for criminal activities. 

There is a tendency to think that financial crimes are not as serious as violent offenses. However, if you are facing charges of identity theft, this is a serious matter. Seeking legal guidance will help ensure that you can come up with a suitable defense strategy in your case.