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New York Identity Theft Frequently Asked Questions

What is identity theft in New York?

Identity theft is the crime of obtaining and using another person’s personal or financial information in order to pretend to be that person for financial gain. Typically, those who commit identity theft target names, addresses, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, home address, bank account information, debit or credit card number, ATM pin, social security number, signature, and telephone number. Oftentimes identify occurs after personal information is stolen from a computer or from the internet, while in other instances identify theft occurs after someone steals a physical document such as a driver’s license or social security card, or credit or debit card.

In order to be convicted of identity theft, the prosecutor must prove the following:
  • The defendant knowingly assumes the identity of another person by presenting himself or herself as that other person
  • The defendant had the intent to defraud
  • The defendant used the identifying information of another person in order to obtains goods, money, property or services
How can an identity be stolen?

In New York those who wish to steal personal indentifying information do so in multiple ways including:

  • Computer fraud. In recent years a common way to steal personal identifying information is by hacking into computer systems. In some cases the target is an individual home computer, while in other cases the target is computer systems of large corporations.
  • Mail theft. Stealing mail can provide a lot of information such as bank statements with full account numbers, credit cards, credit card offers, and social security numbers.
  • Robbery or larceny. Physically stealing someone’s wallet, handbag, or computer bag can give the thief access to someone’s driver’s license, social security card, credit cards, and other personal identifying information.
  • Trash. Going through trash can resulting in thieves coming across discarded bank statements, credit card statements, credit card offers, and other documents that contain personal identifying information.
  • Phishing. Phishing involves sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies or the government in order to induce individuals to reveal personal identifying information, such as passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers.
What are the penalties for identity theft?

In New York there are 4 different identify theft crimes, one of which is a misdemeanor and the other three are felonies. If the defendant is convicted of misdemeanor identity theft, the sentence may include up to a year in prison as well as restitution, fines, and probation. If the defendant is convicted of felony identity theft, the defendant may be sentenced up to 7 years in prison, probation, restitution, and fines.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

If you are under investigation for identity theft, you may be concerned about your future. A conviction may result in your spending time in prison and having to pay fines and restitution. In addition, you will end up with a criminal record. The skilled criminal attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates can help. We have the experience and resources to vigorously defend you and ensure that your legal rights are protected. Contact us at 800.NY.NY.LAW (800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Nassau County, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Queens, Manhattan, and Westchester County.

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