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Allegations of identity theft can become felony charges

Many Iowa City residents use their computers, smart phones and other web-connected devices to complete a number of important tasks. They may chat with friends through video streaming or texting, communicate with their doctors, keep up with the news and do work through online conferencing and emails.

From time to time, individuals share information online that is sensitive to their security. For example, a person's Social Security Number can be used to apply for credit or other financial obligations. If it falls into the wrong person's hands, it could be used to obtain financial benefits, like loans.

When incidents, such as this, occur the person whose Social Security Number was used may be a victim of identity theft. In Iowa, identity theft charges can become felony charges, if the amount of the alleged victim's loss is more than $1,000. Losses that are less than $1,000 are misdemeanors.

However, not every claim of identity theft is legitimate. Individuals who face these potentially serious charges should take any allegations made against them seriously. If convicted of felony identity theft, a person may be sentenced to up to five years in jail and a fined up to $7,500.

Identity theft is not always considered a serious crime because a victim does not experience physical harm. But, those who must defend themselves against such allegations should do so with care and concern. A trained Iowa City criminal defense attorney can be a strong advocate for a person facing identity theft charges and can help them devise an effective plan for counteracting their charges at trial.

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