Identity Theft Laws Only As Good As Enforcement Efforts

By: lisa lucero | Posted: 26th March 2010

In recent years tough new identity theft laws have been passed by the federal government and many states that make it a felony to use the social security number of another person to obtain credit or defraud the government. Of course, it has been illegal for several decades to to break into someone else's home and steal their belongings and the new identity theft laws are having about as much of an impact as those laws.

Although there have some sort of identity theft laws on the books since people were dumpster diving to get credit card and bank account numbers, it has often been viewed as a white collar crime and little had been done in the way of enforcement. However, with thousands of people becoming the victim of identity theft, federal and state agencies are paying more attention to the theft of identity. Most of the efforts are being handled by cyber crime units since most identity theft issues have moved to the internet.

Gleaning information directly from victims is cleaner than digging through garbage cans and less risky than stealing from mailboxes and identity theft laws most often focus on the use of internet scams to obtain someone's personal information. In addition to using someone else's social security number the new identity theft laws also include penalties for mail fraud and bank fraud if any of the information is used in these areas as well.

Using Mail to Receive Fraudulent Cards in Illegal

The newer federal identity theft laws can charge someone who is issued a credit card based on the identity of another, if the card is sent to the violator through the mail. If they use another's identity to get a job, there may also be violations of Internal Revenue Service laws requiring taxes to paid on earning. Often times someone does not know their identity has been used by another for employment until they receive a tax bill from the IRS.

While there are dedicated members of law enforcement working diligently on enforcing the identity theft laws, many people, especially victims of identity theft, do not believe enough is being done in the way of prevention and prosecution. Many of the identity theft laws are too new to show a history of convictions and the type of punishment issued, but to victims who have lost a great deal of time, money and their reputation will all agree the punishment does not fit the results of the crime.

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Tags: new identity, mailboxes, irs, bank account numbers, internet scams, social security number, victim of identity theft, belongings, dumpster, internal revenue service, white collar crime, use of internet, garbage cans, cyber crime