When a person in the Houston area thinks of a theft crime, they may initially think of the theft of physical property. However, certain theft crimes involve the use of another person’s personal or financial information for illicit financial gain. This is known as identity theft.
What constitutes identity theft?
Identity theft is a crime in which a person steals someone else’s information in order to commit a fraud crime, especially financial crimes. Personal information that could be stolen includes a person’s Social Security number, bank account numbers and credit card information. A person could obtain this information in a variety of ways, such as looking for bank account or credit card statements in the trash or accessing corporate databases to obtain lists of personal information. Personal information can also be gained if a person searches a computer’s hard drive, hacks into computer networks, uses malware to infect computers or sends a deceptive email.
What are some types of identity theft?
There are many types of identity theft. Some examples include:
- Financial identity theft in which a person steals someone else’s identity to purchase goods or services;
- Social Security identity theft in which a person steals someone else’s Social Security number in order to apply for a loan or government benefits;
- Medical identity theft in which a person purports to be someone else in order to obtain medical care;
- Synthetic identity theft in which a person combines stolen information with false information to establish a new identity that they then use to commit fraudulent financial crimes;
- Child identity theft in which a person uses the identity of a child for personal gain; and
- Tax identity theft in which a person uses another person’s personal information to file a false tax return in order to get a refund.
As this shows, there are many circumstances in which a person’s actions could be considered identity theft.
Learn more about theft crimes in Texas
Identity theft is only one type of theft crime in Texas; there are many others. Those in the Houston area who are accused of a theft crime may find our firm’s website to be a useful source of information.