Identity Theft – Stealing Your Identity So They Can Break the Law

July 13, 2008

Identity theft victims can have their credit ruined or even end up in jail as the result of having their personal information stolen.

Stolen Identity Can Mean Jail Time
Imagine being pulled over for a broken tail light only to end up being hauled off to jail because there’s a warrant out for your arrest that you knew nothing about.  It sounds crazy but unfortunately it does happen to some victims of identity theft.  Instead of simply using your identity to borrow money, which is bad enough, some criminals use your stolen personal information to fraudulently obtain a driver’s license or identification card in your name.

In the event they’re pulled over or are arrested the law breaker gives the police your name and id.  Then they don’t pay the ticket or show up for court and the judge issues an arrest warrant for the name on record. Or the criminal may even show up and plead guilty, using your identity the whole time.  In the eyes of the government, you are the one that broke the law and the offense goes on your record.

Criminal Identity Theft Example
For example, here’s an identity theft story of a guy in Albuquerque, New Mexico who was in jail for days because a criminal wanted for drug charges had assumed his identity. His story is a good example of how this kind of identity fraud can follow a person around for years.  After an initial run-in with the law in 2003 due to his stolen identity, he was locked up for six days in 2005 because the police again mistook him for the wanted criminal.

Combating Criminal Identity Theft
While identity theft can be hard to prevent there are steps you can take that we’ll discuss in further posts.  Here are some of the suggestions the Albuquerque Tribune article makes for dealing with criminal identity theft when it does occur:

  • Get yourself fingerprinted so that your prints are on file for comparison. Contact your local law enforcement agency.
  • Ask arresting agency to amend all criminal complaints that wrongly name you.
  • Ask the appropriate courts to provide you with official documentation showing that your identity was wrongly used in a criminal case, then carry those documents with you at all times.
  • Keep the phone number of a good attorney handy.

Although these tips may be use, obviously the goal is to avoid the id theft in the first place.  Next time in the Identity Theft series we’ll start to look at how you can prevent identity theft.


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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3 Responses to Identity Theft – Stealing Your Identity So They Can Break the Law

  • John Shelby

    You think that’s bad. The person who stole my Identity is now a convicted murderer. Not to mention his 4 other felonies all attributed to me. The funny thing was, he was a fugitive for the murder charge the first time he used my name, looked nothing like me, had totally way different stats, was in my home town where I had been arrested and booked (dismissed case) but they had my info on file. He was 6 years younger than me. He had no ID, so they filled in his arrest sheet with my details from my arrest. He was Identified while in jail. Paperwork was mis-placed and he made bail under my name. Never went to court. I was convicted in his absence for 3 felonies and warrants were issued for my arrest. I was on the run and hid from authorities for over 10 years. I subsequently ended up broke and homeless because i couldn’t get a job in my previous line of work. I started working in privately owned bars and nightclubs to get off the streets. And now i deliver pizzas. There is a lot more. Criminal Identity Theft sucks, but stupid cops suck more.

  • Elis

    Wow, those are some pretty scary scenarios for someone who has no idea what’s going on to be put through. It’s unfortunate that this is such a fast-growing area of crime, because it’s probably one of the most difficult situations to sort out. I like your tip about getting notes from a court… I never even heard of that post-theft method of identity defense. Cheers!!


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