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Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act: Basic Provisions you need to Know

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Terry Rogan was seized five times for allegedly committing robbery and murder that he did not commit. His problem began in 1982 when a certain convict named McKandes break out from the Alabama State Prison.
Unfortunately, this man happened to have a copy of Terry Rogan’s birth certificate. Eventually, McKandes was able to obtain a driver’s license and other identifying documents in Rogan’s name.

He was still using Rogan’s identity when he committed a robbery and a murder on the same year. An arrest warrant was issued for Rogan’s arrest and information pertaining to him was placed into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). A national criminal information database alerts all police department in the United States on outstanding warrants.

Eventually, Rogan was seized in Michigan for the crime of robbery and murder committed by McKandes in California.

However, upon discovering that Rogan’s fingerprints and other physical features did not match those records in NCIC, he was released. His name was also cleared of any criminal act.

However, the problem does not end there. He was still arrested four more times from 1983 to 1984 for another criminal act he allegedly committed. After finding out that it was not him, he was released and the issue was finally resolved.

It was a clear indication that Terry Rogan is a victim of identity theft. The perpetrator obtained a copy of his birth certificate, which contains the vital important information about him. The perpetrator secured a driver’s license in the name of his victim.

Identity theft is a crime, which everybody is frightened about. Who will ever think that someone can portray himself as you?

He can acquire important personal information about you by any means—mails, credit statements, and even in the Internet, particularly if you have a personal website.

According to state and federal prosecutors, identity theft will be the hottest crime committed merely because of the advancement in technology. Moreover, it is also the cause of financial losses in the business and social security industry.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 93 percent of the arrests made by the United States Secret Service-Financial Crimes Division in the year 1995 are all involved identity theft and caused individual and institutional losses of $442 million.

Its number is still increasing to 94 percent and losses netting to $450 million in the year 1996. Although the percentage of identity theft is still the same in the year 1997, the net loss related to identity theft crime almost doubled to nearly $745 million.

To control the damage done by identity theft crime, the United States Congress passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act and later on signed by then President William Jefferson Clinton into a law on October 30, 1998.

It made the identity theft a federal crime to “knowingly transfer or use, without legal authority; a means of using the identification of another individual with the intention of committing or aiding any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal state law.”

First important change made by this Act is making the actual theft or use of a person’s information a federal crime.

Before this Act, federal law only defines the deceptive creation and the use or transfer of identifying documents and not the actual theft or the criminal use of an individual’s personal information.

Since it is the criminal use of the victim’s identity causes majority of his/her problems, the Act clearly defined it as a new federal crime. The development is much welcomed because information age is still developing where all types of personal identification can be obtained from the Internet.

Second is the definition of punishment for this newly created crime. Here is the major information stated under this provision:

• If the act involves the transfer or use of one or more personal information of another person and the offense enables the perpetrator to obtain anything of value amounting to $1,000 or more during any one year period, the convicted criminal will be fined or imprisoned for not more than three years.

• If the act involves unauthorized use of another person’s birth certificate, driver’s license, and other identifying documents issued under the authority of the United States, the convicted criminal will be fined or imprisoned for not more than fifteen years.

• If the above-mentioned offenses are committed to facilitate a drug trafficking crime or terrorist activities, the perpetrator will be fined or imprisoned up to 20 and 25 years, respectively.

Last is the aid to individual victims of identity theft. The Act created a centralize complaint and consumer education service for the victims and directed development and maintenance of such service to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Complaints are entered into the Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, a database designed to aid law enforcement agencies in combating identity theft.

The FTC is also ask to assist identity theft victims in resolving credit problems arise from the illegal use of their credit funds by perpetrators.

By the enactment of Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, all of us are now provided with additional protection to avoid identity theft. In case you are still unsatisfied, you may opt to get a lawyer to explain further to you other provisions of this Act.

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