According to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission, Texas is one of the top states in the country for identity theft. This crime is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America, and Texas ranks seventh in the nation in cases of identity theft per capita.
Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of fraud in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain. One popular scam in Texas is a Medicare scam. The victims usually receive a phone call from a person posing as a Medicare official claiming that the current Medicare cards are being phased out and that replacement cards must be obtained in order for the person to keep receiving benefits. To obtain a new card, the seniors are told that they need to confirm their Medicare number (which is identical to their Social Security number) and bank account number. The thief then has access to this valuable information.
The Texas identity theft statute provides that a person commits the offense of identity theft when he knowingly obtains the personal identifying information of another without the consent of that person with the intent to harm or defraud that person. Personal identifying information includes many types of information, such as:
- Social Security numbers
- Drivers’ license numbers
- Dates of birth
- Passport numbers
- Employer or tax identification numbers
- Fingerprints, voice prints or iris image
- Telecommunication identifying information or access device
If you have committed identity theft in Texas, you may face some serious punishment, as this offense is a state jail felony. The court may also order you to make restitution to the victim of the offense for lost income or certain other expenses.
If you have been charged with identity theft, it’s important that you contact a reputable San Antonio criminal defense attorney with experience in defending theft charges to get you the best possible outcome for your case.