When you see a news story about hackers who steal personal financial information from a large retailer, a credit reporting bureau, a bank, or any other business, it is a story about identity theft. These hackers want information like social security numbers, passwords, credit card numbers and additional information from people so they can use them for their own financial gain.
But identity theft includes a wide range of acts, from using someone else’s credit card without their permission to opening accounts under their name to applying for a job. If you pretend to be someone else or use any information obtained through unauthorized or illegal means to reap a financial benefit or financially harm another person, you are committing identity theft. Depending on the nature and amount involved, a conviction for identity theft could send you to prison for a long time.
Wigell Law Group’s identity theft defense attorneys provide experienced and aggressive representation for individuals in and around Chicago who are facing identity theft charges. We understand the law, and we know what it takes to present the strongest possible defense. With an unwavering commitment to your well-being, we will challenge prosecutors at every turn and work tirelessly to protect your rights and your future.
Kinds of Identity Theft
There are a variety of activities that can lead to both state and federal identity theft charges, including:
- Hacking into a computer network.
- Phishing, or sending an email that looks like it came from a trusted source (like a person’s bank, doctor, or credit card company) in an attempt to obtain information.
- Skimming credit or debit card information from an ATM or gas pump, or any device that swipes or scans credit or debit cards.
- Using someone else’s Social Security number for any improper purpose.
- Impersonating someone else in electronic or other transactions.
- Manufacturing, selling, buying, or using fake driver’s licenses, social security cards, and other personal identification documents.
Penalties for Illinois Identity Theft
Under Illinois law, the penalties for identity theft largely depend on the value of the goods or services wrongfully obtained using someone else’s identity or phony identification documents. All Illinois identity theft crimes are felonies, however, and even theft of $300 or less is punishable by up to three years in Illinois state prison. On the high end, identity theft involving more than $100,000 is a class X felony which could result in a prison sentence between six and 30 years. Identity theft penalties are even harsher if the victim of the crime was a member of the armed services, disabled, or a senior citizen.
Identity Fraud Can Send You to Prison. We’ll Fight to Keep You Out.
The Chicago identity theft defense attorneys at Wigell Law Group know what’s at stake when facing charges as serious as this. If you have been accused of an identity theft crime, you need to move quickly and call us immediately to give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome. We offer free and confidential initial consultations, so we can learn more about your situation and develop a plan for how to respond to the investigation or charges.
To schedule your consultation, please call us today at 312-548-9250 or use our online contact form.