Most Californians spend little time considering the penalties of an identity theft charge, but for those going through the process, there are many repercussions. While identity theft is a serious issue, not all understand the laws surrounding this type of internet crime. Furthermore, these actions generally come with steep costs that can become a crippling burden over time.
LifeLock stated in April that the number of people affected by identity theft is on the rise in the nation, with numbers having increased steadily over the last six years. Just last year, this common theft strategy cost the country over $16 billion. Cases such as the Equifax data breach may be the first to come to mind, but there are many different forms of identity theft, as LifeLock shares:
- Employment fraud
- Utilities fraud
- Credit card fraud
- Government documents fraud
- Loan or lease fraud
According to LifeLock, the most common type of identity theft involves employment or tax-related fraud, which totals to 34 percent of all reported cases. Credit card fraud follows closely behind, making up roughly 33 percent of all cases.
Identity theft may be common, but what are the costs? As The National Conference of State Legislatures notes, deliberately stealing identities in California could result in thousands of dollars in fines and even time behind bars. Examples of punishable actions that fall under this category of law include obtaining or transferring another's information -- without their consent -- for fraudulent purposes. The details that follow an identity theft charge may vary, and penalties range from a misdemeanor to a felony. The cost of identity theft is an issue with which the country continues to struggle, but is also one that affects more than one party involved.