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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Identity Theft Is Being Reported Like Crazy in Illinois — Were You Charged?

Identity theft is a problem in the modern world. People across the globe enter personal information and use credit and debit cards online. It’s no wonder that identity theft has skyrocketed over the course of the last several decades.

Illinois, in particular, seems to be a place where many people report identity theft. The people who try to steal others’ identities often target the very old or very young because they are the most vulnerable. Other members of the community, such as members of the military, are at risk too.

Here’s what you need to know about identity theft law in Illinois, including what constitutes identity theft, what penalties can be expected by those found guilty of it, and common defenses if you ever find yourself accused of it.

What Is Identity Theft in Illinois?

Identity theft is defined under Illinois law as when someone uses a form of identification of another person to obtain goods, services, money, or credit. A person also commits identity theft if they obtain information about the identity of another person and transfer or sell that information to another party.

The types of personal information often involved in identity theft include:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Social Security number
  • Date of birth
  • Credit card or bank account information
  • Driver’s license number
  • Personal Identification Numbers
  • Passwords
  • Electronic signatures
  • Fingerprints

The Penalties for Identity Theft in Illinois

Punishment depends on the value of the things that were taken as a result of the theft such as money, goods, services, property, or credit. This amount then determines the class of the crime as well as the subsequent penalties.

Class Four Felony

This is charged if the value is less than $300 for the offense. It is punishable by up to four years in prison.

Class Three Felony

For values between $300 and $2,000, you can spend up to five years in prison for this level of offense.

Class Two Felony

This is charged when the value is between $2,000 and $10,000. It is punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Class One Felony

Value between $10,000 and $100,000 can send you to prison for up to 15 years.

Class X Felony

Specific to the state of Illinois, values over $100,000 are a Class X felony, which can send you to prison for up to 30 years.

Defenses to Identity Theft in Illinois

There are several different defenses for those accused of identity theft. Which one is right for you if you are accused depends on the specifics of your particular case. In general, these are the types of defenses used in identity theft cases:

You Were Falsely Accused

If you didn’t commit identity theft, then this is the right defense to use. For example, if you unwittingly get someone else’s personal information because you received their mail, you may find yourself falsely accused.

You Were Authorized

The Penalties for Identity Theft in Illinois

If you were given consent to use the information you did, then it’s not identity theft. Giving permission to another person to use your identity means they cannot be charged with identity theft. Permission can be used as a sort of legal shield to accusations if you can show you did have permission.

About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.

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