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What is identity theft?


With the holidays quickly approaching crimes such as identity theft will be widespread. These crimes are becoming more and more common now that quite a bit of personal data is stored online. The penalties for being convicted of such crimes in Tennessee are severe.

Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. Identity theft can include using your personal information to access your credit cards, getting a new credit card, using your medical insurance to obtain services, and many other similar situations. Most of the time victims do not find out that their personal information was stolen until later when they see charges they didn't make on their credit card statement and other clues.

Identity theft laws in Tennessee make it a Class D felony to steal the identity of another person. A Class D felony is a serious charge and can include a prison term of two to 12 years and up to a $5,000 fine. The laws regarding identity theft are continually changing and the punishments are becoming more severe. Just the possession of another person's social security number can be enough for a person to be charged with intent to use the information illegally.

A person who is facing identity theft charges may benefit from a strong criminal defense lawyer. Due to nature of the penalties that an identity theft conviction can bring and the harm it can cause one's personal and professional reputation, it can help Tennessee residents to have a good defense.

Source: FTC.gov, "Identity theft", accessed on Nov. 10, 2014

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