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Identify theft in Pennsylvania

In the state of Pennsylvania, identity theft is defined as any offense that includes an individual's attempt to non-consensually utilize any identifying information of another for unlawful intent. In the modern age, identity theft is common and far-reaching on the Internet, and anyone may easily fall victim to phishing scams. Information including credit card numbers and bank account passwords and usernames may be stolen in the process.

Items commonly lifted in order to commit identity theft often include documents such as birth certificates, Social Security numbers, payroll information and driver's licenses. With the popularity of social media, computer images and photos might also be taken without a person's consent in order to further an attempted theft.

For someone convicted of identity theft, the penalties under the state's statutes may be severe. Depending on the degree and number of incidents, an individual may be convicted of a misdemeanor if the value of any services or property stolen as a direct result amounts to less than $2,000. If the value is determined to be above that amount, the charge may be upgraded to third-degree felony. A person accused of identity theft might also be charged with a felony if it is found that they were involved in a larger criminal conspiracy.

Those accused of committing Internet crimes may wish to seek out an attorney well-versed in Pennsylvania criminal law. If an individual faces a felony charge, legal counsel may potentially advocate on their behalf in order to negotiate a plea bargain with the prosecution. If the person was indeed involved in a larger criminal conspiracy, their charges may be lessened in exchange for a testimony against other offenders.

Source: Pennsylvania General Assembly, "4120. Identity theft.", October 22, 2014

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