Identity theft is a serious crime and has been called the fastest growing crime in America. It occurs when someone uses your personal information, such as name, address, date of birth, social security number or mother's maiden name. Criminals use this information to access or open financial accounts, make unauthorized transactions and apply for new credit lines. Thieves gain access to personal information by:
- Mail Theft
- Vehicle Burglaries
- Home and Business Burglaries
- Dumpster Diving
- Bogus Email and Website "Phishing" Scams
It is a felony for a person to willfully obtain someone else's personal identifying information without consent and use that information for an unlawful purpose.
Personal identifying information includes names, address, telephone number, school ID number, driver's license number, social security number, place of employment, professional or occupational numbers, mother's maiden name, date of birth, PIN, passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, passport numbers, birth or death certificates.
If a suspect has used your personal information in another county, your own local law enforcement agency must take the initial report from you.
The case will then be referred to the agency in the county where your information was illegally used.
Placing your outgoing mail in U.S. postal boxes is strongly discouraged. It is recommended that you walk your outgoing mail into the post office or use secure indoor drop boxes at your place of business.
Identity Theft Links
PENAL CODE § 530.5(a)
Unauthorized Use of Personal Identifying Info
Every person who willfully obtains personal identifying information, as defined in subdivision (b) of Section 530.55, of another person, and uses that information for any unlawful purpose, including to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, goods, services, real property, or medical information without the consent of that person, is guilty of a public offense, and upon conviction therefor, shall be punished by a fine, by imprisonment in a county jail not to exceed one year, or by both a fine and imprisonment, or by imprisonment in the state prison.
(West's Ann. Cal. Penal Code)