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Are identity theft laws adequate?

Posted in Crime Prevention February 16th, 2009 @ 10:34 am

State legislators have passed legislation that try to catch and punish identity theft throughout the nation. However, some legislation efforts may fall short of achieving this goal. Minnesota identity theft law states that “A person who transfers, possesses, or uses an identity that is not the person’s own, with the intent to commit, aid, or abet any unlawful activity is guilty of identity theft and may be punished..”

This is where the law gets tricky. It isn’t illegal to have someone’s other personal documents without their permission. You can possess other personal documents, such as the case in Colorado where an identity criminal possessed peoples’ passports, driver’s licenses, medical records and Social Security cards.

As a result, Colorado is looking to tighten up the rules on identity theft by making it illegal to have these types of identity documents in someone else’s possession without permission.

As you know, your passport, Social Security number or driver’s license number or other personal identifying information can begin the process of identity theft. In addition, some states have a statute of limitations for identity theft. The date begins when the person is victimized and may only extend for up to three years in some states.

That’s why Colorado legislators are introducing a theft bill that would make possessing documents without permission illegal, extended the statue of limitations, as well as the number and type of documents in possession illegal. For example, having two of those records would be a felony and punishable for up to 18 months in jail.

Having your identity stolen and trying to clear up your good name and credit can be a never-ending process. Many people have tried for years with little or no success. Perhaps with new state legislation, the victims of an identity theft crime would have a faster process, an easier way to catch the identity thieves, as well as knowing that these criminals would have a longer jail time.

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