Identity theft


Greensboro attorneys with experience and knowledge

Identity theft is rampant — more than 8.6 million households reported being victims in 2010, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Not surprisingly, North Carolina has taken a tough stance against identity thieves, making theft of any personal information a felony and requiring those convicted to pay considerable fines and costs.

Clifford & Harris, PLLC understands the impact these severe penalties have on defendants. We have more than 65 combined years defending white collar crimes. Our Greensboro lawyers possess the skills and technological knowledge to defeat or minimize identity theft charges in Guilford County.

Our clients include individuals accused of a single theft and those charged in a large-scale scheme under state or federal laws. In fact, we are not thwarted by the size of a case and easily cover all angles of a defense, including interviewing numerous witnesses and examining detailed financial documentation.

North Carolina identity theft law

It is illegal to obtain, possess or use someone else’s identifying information with the intent to commit fraud by making financial transactions or purchases in the victim’s name. Identifying information includes:

  • Social Security or employer taxpayer identification numbers
  • Driver’s license, state identification card or passport numbers
  • Checking account numbers
  • Savings account numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Debit card numbers
  • Personal identification numbers (PINs)
  • Electronic identification numbers, electronic mail names or addresses
  • Internet account numbers or Internet identification names
  • Digital signatures
  • Any other numbers or information that can be used to access a person’s financial resources
  • Biometric data
  • Fingerprints
  • Passwords
  • Parent’s legal surname prior to marriage

Punishment can be severe

Using any of this information is a Class G felony, which carries a sentence range of eight to 16 months, if you have no prior record. If the victim was arrested because of your conduct, or if you possessed information from three or more victims, you face a Class F felony and a sentence of 10 to 20 months.

If you sell, transfer or purchase someone’s identifying information with the intent to commit fraud, it is considered trafficking, which is a Class E felony, with a sentence range of 15 to 31 months.

Perhaps even more damaging to the defendant is the potential for the judge to order restitution to cover all of the victim’s financial losses. This includes:

  • Actual losses
  • Lost wages
  • Attorneys’ fees
  • Costs to correct the victim’s credit history or credit rating
  • Costs of any criminal, civil or administrative proceeding against the victim

Additionally, the victim could file a civil lawsuit against you for damages caused by your alleged conduct.

Real help from attorneys in Greensboro and High Point

A great deal is at stake in an identity theft case. Trust Clifford & Harris, PLLC to examine every avenue in crafting your defense. Call our firm at 336-574-2788 or email us for a free consultation with a qualified lawyer.