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Is identity theft a serious crime?

Many people are familiar with the basics of identity theft. However, some don't understand that this is a serious crime that comes with serious punishment if convicted.

Generally speaking, identity theft is nothing more than a crime in which a person wrongfully obtains another person's private data, such as a Social Security number, as a means of making economic gains.

Every state has laws in place regarding identity theft and identity fraud.

While it's easy to believe that technology would help curb the rate of identity theft in the United States, this has not been the case. In fact, the crime is more common than ever before. It remains one of the fastest-growing crimes in the country.

In addition to state laws against identity theft, there are also federal laws in place. Also, several government agencies can step in and investigate this type of crime. These include:

-- Secret Service

-- Federal Trade Commission

-- Federal Bureau of Investigation

-- Postal Inspection Service

If you find yourself charged with the crime of identity theft, there is no time to waste. You may not think this is a serious crime, but it has landed many people in prison over the years.

You should do two things:

-- Learn more about the crime with which you've been charged, including why the authorities believe you did something wrong.

-- Focus on the defense strategy that can help you avoid a conviction.

If you take these steps, you can better understand what happened in the past and what you can do in the future to improve your situation.

Source: FindLaw, "Identity Theft," accessed Feb. 15, 2017

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