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Identity Theft vs Identity Fraud: What’s the Difference?

April 21, 2024 Posted In Criminal Defense,Fraud

The use of a person’s identity, including their name, address, and Social Security number, that is not yours is illegal. However, various types of claims can be brought based on how these actions occur. Identity theft occurs when a person takes another person’s identity to use as their own. Identity fraud is a type of identity theft in which the action involves some type of monetary gain. Talk to an Atlanta identity theft attorney at Wallack Law today.

What Is Identity Theft? 

Identity theft involves the use of another person’s private data for your own gain. It can be done by a family member using someone else’s credit card. It may occur when someone uses personal data to open a loan in your name. It may also be the result of criminal activity from hackers.

Some examples of identity theft may include:

  • Using someone else’s prescription to obtain medication
  • Using another person’s identity to log into a computer system
  • Changing a title on a title document
  • Phishing schemes
  • Fraudulent transactions

Think of identity theft as an overreaching type of crime, one that can include numerous types of acts in which one person acts like another. In these situations, there is often some action meant to defraud or otherwise compromise sensitive information.

What Is Identity Fraud?

In identity fraud, sensitive data is used in a way to gain money. Identity fraud typically includes one of two types:

  • Credit card fraud: This occurs when someone uses another person’s credit card that they did not have the right to use. They use the card to make a purchase.
  • Bank fraud: In this form of identity theft, a person accesses another party’s financial information to open an account or withdraw money from an existing account. This is considered a major crime and carries a significant risk of jail time and fines.

There are other types of fraud that can occur. If a person poses as someone they are not to apply for and obtain government benefits, such as disability checks, that is a form of identity fraud.

Consider the Main Differences

The most common methods of identity fraud include the misuse of another person’s existing account for financial gain in some way. Identity theft often refers to the impersonation of another person with the goal of opening an account or otherwise accessing damage.

Identity theft is a criminal act involving the stealing of personal or private information, including but not limited to financial information, and using it as your own. This type of act can lead to numerous legal complications, and working with a criminal defense attorney is often beneficial.

What to Do If You Are Charged with Identity Theft or Identity Fraud

In these situations, you are facing a significant amount of potential risk. That could include jail time and significant fines. Working with a criminal defense attorney who has experience in areas related to identity theft can help you navigate your legal options.

Both identity theft and identity fraud are serious charges. Both should be taken seriously.