According to the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), identity theft refers to any type of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another’s personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, and typically is done for economic gain.
Maryland state law prohibits several types of identity theft, and the following are three forms deemed illegal under state law and the penalties for each:
- False identification: MD state law prohibits the offer, sale, or issue of a document or identification card that contains any blank space that would allow a person to alter his or her age, address, or date of birth. If a person is found guilty, they may face a prison sentence and/or be ordered to pay thousands of dollars in penalties. It is also illegal to alter a government-issued identification card or use an I.D. card not issued to him/her, and this may be punishable by up to six months in prison.
- Payment and credit card fraud: It is illegal for a person to make a false written statement concerning another person’s identity for the purpose of obtaining a credit card. One may also be charged with credit card fraud if a credit card is taken or used without another’s consent, as well as if a person finds a lost credit card and chooses to use it or gives it to another individual.
- Scanning devices: Maryland state laws make it illegal to use/possess a scanning device or re-encoder that can be used to copy sensitive financial information from the magnetic strip of any payment card. Even if the device is not used but a person is found in possession of it, this misdemeanor crime can be punished by months in prison and significant fines.
As identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the nation, the state of Maryland takes this crime very seriously and its prosecutors will likely seek the maximum penalties in each case. As such, it is imperative you have legal assistance from the California theft lawyers at the law firm of Alpert Schreyer to help you fight your charges and avoid excessive penalties. To see how we can provide you with excellent legal representation in your case, call (800) 489-1577.