Identity Theft Research Review: Identity Theft Legislation

In 1998, Congress passed the Identity Theft Assumption and Deterrence Act (the Identity Theft Act; U.S. Public Law 105–318). This act identifies offenders as anyone who

...knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, any name or number that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific individual with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law.

Most States have passed identity theft legislation. State statues differ in wording, the types of identity theft that are criminalized, and treatment of the crime as either a felony or a misdemeanor. For example, whereas some States have specific provisions criminalizing criminal record identity theft (use of an individual's identity to commit a crime or to give police a false identity), others have open-ended language that simply permits prosecution.

A detailed breakout of the laws on the books when the report was published (through January 2005) is given in appendix 3 of the full report pdf.

Date Created: June 7, 2010