Wisconsin, like all other states, has created its own set of laws and penalties pertaining to identity theft. According to data provided by Carnegie Mellon University, theft of identity occurs when a person acquires and uses someone else’s personal information including Social Security number, credit card data, name, driver’s license number or any other information in order to assume that person’s identity.
If you or someone you know is facing allegations of engaging in Internet crimes involving identity theft, you should know that Wisconsin enforces harsh penalties if convicted. A Class H felony in the state of Wisconsin, identity theft penalties can include a fine of $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to six years. It is also important to note that the laws regarding technology crimes in Wisconsin and elsewhere change on a regular basis as lawmakers are challenged to reduce the surge.
Understanding the charges as well as the reason for such harsh penalties is a great first step in preparing to fight the allegations. Carnegie Mellon’s 2013 Identity Fraud Report revealed that identity theft is a growing problem. The University reports that this type of fraud occurred about once every three seconds in 2013 resulting in the theft of more than $20 billion. This is why governments on the state and federal level impose severe sentences for each conviction. The government hopes that imposing these penalties will help reduce the volume of identity theft over time.
Identity fraud and other technology related crimes can change your life in long-lasting ways. If you have been accused of stealing another person’s identity in Milwaukee or another Wisconsin area, the best course of action is to seek out an identity theft attorney as early as possible, even if you have not yet been charged.
Source: FindLaw, “Wisconsin Identity Theft Laws” Dec. 31, 2014