In the age of the Internet, it may seem like identity theft is becoming a greater issue than ever. People in Virginia not only purchase items or do their banking in brick-and-mortar locations, but now they make many financial transactions online. But, in either case it is possible that a person can be accused of identity theft, which is a very serious crime.
Under §18.2-186.3 of the Code of Virginia, it is illegal for a person to intentionally use the identity of another individual, without that individual’s consent, to commit certain fraudulent acts for the person’s own gain. One of these acts is obtaining the identifying information of another individual that is not publicly known to help access that person’s financial resources, identification documents or other benefits belonging to that individual. Another act is using another’s identity to acquire money, use that person’s credit, secure a loan or purchase goods or services.
A third act is using another individual’s identity to obtain identification documents that are in that individual’s name. Finally, a person cannot impersonate a police officer or government official to obtain another person’s identity. A person also cannot intentionally use the identity of another, without that individual’s consent, to sell or distribute that identification information to a third party to commit the above acts.
Those convicted of identity theft can face significant penalties. A first-time offense involving wherein the alleged victim suffered a financial loss of less than $500 is a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the alleged victim suffers a financial loss at or above $500 or it is the alleged perpetrator’s second or subsequent offense, it is a Class 6 felony. A felony crime could result in fines and incarceration, not to mention a criminal record that will follow a person for the rest of his or her life. Therefore, those in Virginia accused of identity theft will want to take the steps necessary to ensure that their rights are protected.