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What is identity theft?

A person's identity -- their name, address, date of birth, Social Security number -- is key to a lot of different things, and it can easily be misused when enough of that information is known to somebody else. That's identity theft. Many different circumstances can lead to an accusation of identity theft. Some of them may surprise you.

Even common circumstances can lead to identity theft claims

Even seemingly innocent situations might lead to these claims. For example, if you claim to be someone else so you can pick up their prescriptions, you’ve committed identity theft. Typically, however, identity theft charges have to do with financial accounts. One example is using someone else’s Social Security number and other information to obtain a credit card. Another version of identity theft is using someone's identity and information to obtain medical services because they're insured and you're not -- which is a serious crime, even if you have the other person's permission.

Facing any type of criminal charge requires that you take the time to review your options. You must ensure you craft a defense strategy that’s true and in your best interests. Working with someone who can help you to vet the options is important. There may be some that are time sensitive, so it’s best to get started right away.

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