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What are the penalties for identity theft?

On Behalf of | May 19, 2023 | Theft & Property Crimes |

Identity theft happens when someone collects personal information to facilitate fraudulent financial transactions. Victims could suffer from its consequences by losing credit or receiving blame for illegal transactions made under their names.

Sometimes, another person could use an individual’s details to receive medical care under their name, causing severe inaccuracies in their medical records. Texas has stringent laws against identity theft.

The state considers it a felony, which could result in heftier sanctions based on the case details. Identity theft could lead to the following penalties based on the items gained through the offense:

  • Less than five items: Third-degree felony with a maximum two-year imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine
  • Five to nine items: Third-degree felony with a maximum ten-year imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine
  • Ten to 49 items: Second-degree felony with a maximum 20-year imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine
  • 50 or more items: First-degree felony with a maximum 99-year imprisonment and/or $10,000 fine

However, these sanctions could vary based on the situation. Additionally, identity theft could only be relevant if the offender committed or had the intent to unlawfully use someone else’s details to defraud or cause harm.

What actions could constitute identity theft?

Gathering personal information might not be a crime. It could depend on what a person does with the collected details. Identity theft could happen if an individual uses the collected data to facilitate the following:

  • Create false loan or credit card applications
  • Make illegal withdrawals from the bank
  • Committing fraud using fake calling cards or online profiles
  • Receiving services and items that the individual cannot access or gain using their real name

Both state and federal laws impose sanctions on identity theft. Sentences could also escalate, especially for wide-scale operations with systematic methods to commit this offense.

Collecting information is not a crime

Today when sharing information has become the norm, it is easy to blame anyone for identity theft. Still, a crime could only happen if the incident met specific conditions, such as proven intent and unlawful usage of another person’s identification.