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identity theft, Skokie criminal defense lawyerAn Illinois man was recently given five years in prison for a series of identity theft schemes and failing to pay taxes. The convicted individual used other people’s credit card accounts without their consent or knowledge to purchase over $40,000 worth of goods at major retail stores. He was previously charged with related crimes in Wisconsin and Indiana. Some might call this man lucky. Identity theft schemes can result in up to ten years’ imprisonment and some large-scale operations have resulted in sentences as high as 30 years.

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft or identity fraud refers to crimes in which a person uses another individual’s personal information for their own financial gain. In many cases, this could mean using another person’s social security number, banking information, or credit card to make purchases. Individuals who commit these crimes may have watched a person enter a credit card or bank number over their shoulder, taken a picture of a credit card, or listened in on a phone conversation in which personal financial information was discussed. Another form of identity theft may occur when an individual responds to “spam” email which requests personal information such as passwords or banking account numbers. These emails may be disguised as official correspondence from a legitimate company or organization, but, in reality, are fraudulent.

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