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Is There A Difference Between Identity Theft and Fraud?

When high-profile stories about identity theft appear in the news, Kansas residents understandably feel nervous. Tales of hackers and other experts at compromising personal information lead many people to wonder if anyone is impersonating them or using opening up bank accounts in their name. Some invest in identity theft protection services for protection, which can make sense.

Confusion does exist about the differences between identity theft and identity fraud. Are there differences between the two? Often, the two go hand-in-hand, so it becomes difficult to make a distinction.

Identity theft is an instance when a person “steals” another individual’s identity. So, if Mr. and Mrs. Smith uses illegally procured documents to present themselves as Mr. and Mrs. Jones, the two commit identity theft. Upon using their new identities to deceive or defraud someone, the two commit identity fraud. Few criminals would procure a false identity for no purpose. So, theft and fraud go hand-in-hand frequently.

Committing identity theft and fraud can occur after procuring someone’s name, address, birth date, social security number, and other personal details. Reports of sophisticated computer hacking assaults on top corporations often garner news headlines, but many incidents of compromising personal data are low-key. A simple phishing scheme can capture personal data without much effort.

Spam emails that copy the look of popular online services and accounts seemingly continue to work quite well. A fake email claiming to be from a person’s bank could request personal information. The unsuspecting recipient then provides the information, which ends up compromised.

Anyone accused of a white collar crime, such as identity theft or fraud, may benefit from retaining a criminal defense attorney. An attorney could explore the validity of the evidence, assess potential entrapment, or possibly prove a client had nothing to do with a particular crime.

Criminal defense attorneys also handle plea bargains and appeals. A client may need to explore these options, depending on the case.