A theft generally occurs when someone takes something that is not theirs with the intent of depriving the actual owner of the taken item. Identity theft is an extension of this general definition. In Florida and other jurisdictions, identity theft happens when a person uses the personal information of another individual for personal or economic gains.

Personal information can include many different types of data. A person’s name and address may fall under personal information, as may their phone number, Social Security number, and pin numbers or passwords for online accounts. Many allegations of identity theft occur from individuals’ uses of computers and internet-based activity; though identity theft can happen in the physical realm, many charges happen when alleged hacking or phishing results in the illegal collection of others personal information.

Readers should recognize that identity theft is a very serious crime. A number of federal organizations work to fight identity theft in both the physical and online worlds. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Secret Service are just two of the agencies with the power to investigate alleged instances of identity theft.

When faced with a charge of identity theft, an individual may feel as though they are out of options. However, as with many other criminal charges, defenses do exist to identity theft claims. While no one defense strategy will benefit all individuals who are facing identity theft charges, attorneys can provide their clients with case-specific support. Through consultation and reviewing the facts of their specific cases, individuals can prepare themselves to face their criminal charges head on and overcome the allegations of identity theft that have been made against them.