Identity theft-related criminal charges carry serious penalties in Wisconsin, and in some cases, you may end up having to serve considerable time behind bars if convicted of such a crime. In some instances, offenders find themselves in trouble because they were unaware that what they had done was criminal in nature, but courts and judges generally will not consider your intent when determining whether you are guilty of a particular crime.

Many Wisconsin residents facing identity theft charges do so because they acted in similar ways. Fully understanding the state’s identity theft laws may help you avoid running afoul of them.

Types of common identity theft charges

Many Wisconsin residents who are facing identity theft charges find themselves in such a position after using someone else’s identifying information without authorization, or using someone’s else’s business’s identifying information, without authorization. Others land in hot water after using someone else’s credit or debit card without permission, or by committing a fraudulent act against a particular bank or financial institution, among other actions.

For example, it is against the law to use the personal information of someone else in an effort to secure credit, money, goods, employment or anything else of value without that person’s permission. It is also unlawful to do so in an effort to hurt the person’s reputation or property or to avoid potential penalties from the civil or criminal justice systems. Similarly, it is unlawful to misrepresent yourself by using someone else’s business information to obtain credit, money, goods or employment, and it is also against the law to do so in an effort to tarnish a business’s reputation. Using or obtaining someone else’s credit or debit card without permission can also lead to identity theft charges, as can using someone else’s card that you may have received in error.

A conviction for identity theft charges has the capacity to upend many areas of your life. In some cases, those convicted of identity theft end up spending years behind bars and shelling out thousands of dollars in fines.