Identity theft is a felony offense when someone steals your identifying information pretending to be you for their economic gain. Anyone with an intent to defraud can illegally obtain your personal details, like social security, passport and driver’s license numbers, so you must keep careful watch of suspicious people around you.
Signs of an identity takeover
Even though technology these days is pretty strong, there are many ways sophisticated – or even unsophisticated – scammers can get ahold of your precious personal information. It is crucial that you recognize the following indicators:
- Receipt of unfamiliar medical, phone and other utility bills
- Unexplained withdrawals from your bank accounts
- Missing mail or mail that suddenly stopped coming in
- Notifications from debt collectors about accounts opened under your name
- Denied loan applications even if you know you have good credit standing
- Unauthorized purchases of online orders and other goods on your credit card statements
- Unrequested authentication alerts for further verification, usually in the form of a code or personal identification number
Suspects usually act fast to rack up wrongfully obtained benefits before you even notice. The sooner you detect any fraudulent activity, the quicker you can prevent further damage.
In North Carolina, an identity thief, once convicted, is bound to spend substantial time behind bars. Suspects in serious cases end up with a Class F felony if they stole from three or more individuals and such fraudulent behavior leads to the victim’s arrest, detention or conviction. This charge amounts to 10 to 41 months in prison. Further, victims must receive restitution depending on the values stolen by the perpetrator.
Guarding your privacy
It only takes a few keystrokes for an identity thief to attack your privacy and ruin your reputation. Straightening out your records may have a broader impact than you expected, so seeking legal help in reclaiming your identity is of utmost importance.