The Crime of Child Identity Theft
The crime of identity theft involves stealing an individual’s identity and using their personal information (including their name, Social Security number, credit or banking information, etc.) without their permission.
While many people may have heard of the crime of identity theft or may have even been a victim, one type of identity theft crime that is not as well known is the identity theft of a child.
Child Identity Theft
Because identity theft has become so widespread over the past several years, financial institutions and credit card companies are always implementing new security checks to fight against fraud. Many people have also taken steps to protect against identity theft, including putting alerts on any attempted activity connected with their credit history.
This has led to an increase in identity theft crimes that target the identity of children. People involved in this type of crime find that using the name, Social Security number, and credit history of a person who has no history to fraudulently obtain credit cards or other financial gains is a lot easier than attempting to use the identity of an individual who may have a checkered credit history or who has put alerts if anyone tries to access their history.
Although many people who commit child identity theft have no idea whose identity they are stealing, there are situations where that is not the case. For example, a parent who is struggling financially and has had their electricity turned off because they cannot pay the bill may decide to open a new electric account in their child’s name, using the child’s Social Security number and credit history.
While morally some people may feel there is a difference between a stranger using a child’s identity to obtain credit cards and rack up thousands of dollars in credit card bills and a parent desperate for electricity for their children, Texas law does not.
Texas Penal Code Ann. § 32.51 does not differentiate between the two and both scenarios are considered identity theft of a child. Depending on many items of identifying information the accused has of the child, the crime can be charged as follows:
State jail felony: Five items or less, up to two years in prison if convicted
Third-degree felony: Between five and 10 items, up to 10 years in prison if convicted
Second-degree felony: Between 10 and 50 items, up to 20 years in prison if convicted
First-degree felony: More than 50 items, up to 99 years in prison if convicted
Contact a Plano, TX Defense Attorney
If you have been accused of child identity theft, even if it is of your own child, you could be facing serious prison time if convicted. Contact a Denton County fraud attorney for help in defending against these charges. Call The Crowder Law Firm, P.C. at 214-303-9600 to schedule a free consultation.