Is Identity Theft Always a Felony in Georgia?
Identify theft makes big news. It is a crime that is often anonymous, but the victim almost always suffers a severe financial impact. Identify theft tends to spike during the holiday season as people become less aware of their shopping habits, both online and off. Different states their own opinions on whether or not identity theft is a misdemeanor or felony. In Georgia, identify theft, known as identity fraud, is always a felony.
The Basics of Identity Fraud
Identify fraud occurs when a person takes the identify of another. The criminal may take a person’s birth date, Social Security number, bank account or credit card information. No matter which piece of information is stolen, the end goal is to use that information for some type of gain.
In Georgia, identity fraud is a felony. Someone is said to have committed identity fraud when they intentionally:
- Possesses or uses another person’s information without that person’s consent and with the intent to commit fraud;
- Uses the information of a person under 18 who is in the custody of the user;
- Or possesses or uses the information of a person who is dead with an intention to commit fraud.
One of the things that identity fraud in Georgia does not cover is cases where someone under the age of 21 uses an identification card or another or one that is fake to purchase alcohol or get into a bar. There are other criminal statutes that apply to this type of crime.
Any person who commits identity fraud in the state of Georgia will be charged with a felony. If found guilty, the person faces up to 10 years in prison. The convicted person may also face up to $250,000.
How Identity Fraud Occurs
One of the more common ways that people secure the identifying information of another is through electronic means. For example, a person may send out emails that appear to come from a credit card company or bank. The recipient of the email goes to a website and enters their information. The information is given to a criminal without the knowledge of the person who submitted it. That information is then used to commit fraud.
Sending emails in this type of manner is also a felony. If convicted, a person faces up to 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. This is considered a very serious crime in the state of Georgia and elsewhere in the nation.
One of the best things that people can do to avoid becoming a victim of identity fraud is to always know who they are giving their information to. Only shop on secure websites and never provide identifying information to someone who asks for it for seemingly no reason.
If you have been arrested for identity fraud in Georgia, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Call our office today and speak with a member of our team at no cost to you. We are here for you and ready to help you mount a strong defense.