As the world becomes more and more digitally based, using electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers to build and maintain a digital presence is just part of everyday life. But greater reliance on these devices has brought with it greater concerns about privacy and security. Digital threats continue to grow in this digital age, and computer-related crimes like identity theft have risen exponentially.
What is Identity Fraud in Texas?
Identity fraud is a crime being committed more and more, becoming a major issue around the world. In Texas, identity fraud is most often considered a felony of the first, second, or third degree depending on the circumstances, and occurs when an individual obtains, transfers, possesses, or uses another individual’s personal information without permission to acquire goods or services. Identity theft is defined in Texas State Business and Commerce Code as follows:
Sec. 521.051. UNAUTHORIZED USE OR POSSESSION OF PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION. (a) A person may not obtain, possess, transfer, or use personal identifying information of another person without the other person’s consent or effective consent and with intent to obtain a good, a service, insurance, an extension of credit, or any other thing of value in the other person’s name.
This crime is outlined in detail in the Texas State Penal Code, § 32.51. Fraudulent Use or Possession of Identifying Information, starting with the definition of fraudulent possession of identifying information as follows:
Sec. 32.51. FRAUDULENT USE OR POSSESSION OF IDENTIFYING INFORMATION. (a) In this section:
(1) “Identifying information” means information that alone or in conjunction with other information identifies a person, including a person’s:
(A) name and date of birth;
(B) unique biometric data, including the person’s fingerprint, voice print, or retina or iris image;
(C) unique electronic identification number, address, routing code, or financial institution account number;
(D) telecommunication identifying information or access device; and
(E) social security number or other government-issued identification number.
Part 2 of this blog series will be a brief discussion of penalties for identity fraud in Texas.
Do you or a loved one need legal counsel regarding identity fraud? If so, you should secure the services of a knowledgeable and practiced criminal defense attorney like Brian Erskine of Erskine Law, a board-certified criminal defense attorney. Mr. Erskine has over a decade of experience handling a wide variety of cases in the Austin, Texas area. Erskine Law is a respected law firm; counsel is committed to helping clients navigate the complex legal system to reach a positive outcome in their cases. Contact Erskine Law at any time to ask questions and discuss how Brian Erskine will fight with you during your legal battle.