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How does Iowa law define identity theft?

Under Iowa law, theft of an individual's identity occurs when a person fraudulently uses another person's identity information to obtain money, property or services. Identification information is defined in the statute to include names, addresses, social security numbers, driver's license or state ID numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers and even the maiden name of the victim's mother. Simply possessing another person's information is not identity theft; there must be an actual or attempted fraudulent use of the information and intent to unlawfully benefit from it.

A conviction of identity theft charges can carry serious consequences under Iowa law, however, this is dependent on the amount of property involved. If the amount is more than a thousand dollars, identity theft can be charged as a Class D felony in Iowa. A conviction can result in a large fine and potential prison time.

Today, people tend to think of identity theft as a computer crime because it is in fact often facilitated by technology. Computer and phone hackers can often steal social security and credit card information. But identity theft charges can also arise out of the use of personal information stolen from a victim's wallet, purse or car.

Anyone facing identity theft charges needs an aggressive criminal defense strategy. As with other crimes involving theft or fraud, there are defenses that can often be raised. It is important for the defendant to understand his or her rights in the criminal justice system, and an experienced criminal defense lawyer can provide critical assistance.

Source: Iowa Code, "ยง 715A.8," accessed Oct. 10, 2015

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