Identity Theft Information

What is Identity Theft....?

 

Identity theft, also known as ID theft is a crime in which a criminal obtains key pieces of personal information, such as Social Security or driver's license numbers, in order to pose as someone else. The information can be used to obtain credit, merchandise, and services using the victims’ name. Identity theft can also provide a thief with false credentials for immigration or other applications. One of the biggest problems with identity theft is that very often the crimes committed by the identity theft expert are often attributed to the victim.

There are two main types of identity theft – account takeover and true name theft. Account takeover identity theft refers to the type of situation where an imposter uses the stolen personal information to gain access to the person’s existing accounts. Often the identity thief will use the stolen identity to acquire even more credit products by changing your address so that you never see the credit card bills that the thief runs up.

True name identity theft means that the thief uses personal information to open new accounts. The thief might open a new credit card account, establish cellular phone service, or open a new checking account in order to obtain blank checks. The Internet has made it easier for an identity thief to use the information they've stolen because transactions can be made without any real verification of someone’s identity. All a thief really needs today is a series of correct numbers to complete the crime.  

Some types of identity thieves hack into databases to steal personal information. However this type of thievery is much rarer than the use of old fashioned methods such as scouring the garbage for old receipts or looking over someone’s shoulder while they are doing a financial transaction. You should also be wary of such criminals at the Department of Motor Vehicles or anywhere else where filling out a long application could provide a thief with enough information to inspire an identity theft.

Louisiana Identity Theft Law

LSA R.S. 14:67.16

 
LSA-R.S. 14:67.16

A.  As used in this Section the following terms have the following meanings:

(1)  "Disabled person" is any person regardless of age who has a mental, physical, or developmental disability that substantially impairs the person's ability to provide adequately for his own care or protection.

(2)  "Person" means any individual, partnership, association, joint stock association, trust, corporation, or other business entity whether incorporated or not.

(3)  "Personal identifying information" shall include but not be limited to an individual's:

(a)  Social security number.

(b)  Driver's license number.

(c)  Checking account number.

(d)  Savings account number.

(e)  Credit card number.

(f)  Debit card number.

(g)  Electronic identification number.

(h)  Digital signatures.

(i)  Birth certificate.

(j)  Date of birth.

(k)  Mother's maiden name.

(l)  Armed forces identification number.

(m)  Government issued identification number.

(n)  Financial institution account number.

B.  Identity theft is the intentional use or possession or transfer or attempted use with fraudulent intent by any person of any personal identifying information of another person to obtain, possess, or transfer, whether contemporaneously or not, credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value without the authorization or consent of the other person.

C.(1)(a)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained, possessed, or transferred, which amounts to a value of one thousand dollars or more, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.

(b)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when the victim is sixty years of age or older or a disabled person when the credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained which amounts to a value of one thousand dollars or more, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than three years and for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.

(c)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when the victim is under the age of seventeen when the credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained which amounts to a value of one thousand dollars or more, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than three years and for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.

(2)(a)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained, possessed, or transferred, which amounts to a value of five hundred dollars or more, but less than one thousand dollars, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or may be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

(b)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when the victim is sixty years of age or older or a disabled person when the credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained which amounts to a value of five hundred dollars or more, but less than one thousand dollars, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than two years and not more than five years, or may be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

(c)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when the victim is under the age of seventeen when the credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained which amounts to a value of five hundred dollars or more, but less than one thousand dollars, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than two years and not more than five years, or may be fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

(3)(a)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained, possessed, or transferred, which amounts to a value of three hundred dollars or more, but less than five hundred dollars, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than three years, or may be fined not more than three thousand dollars, or both.

(b)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when the victim is sixty years of age or older or a disabled person when the credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained which amounts to a value of three hundred dollars or more, but less than five hundred dollars, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than one year and not more than three years, or may be fined not more than three thousand dollars, or both.

(c)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when the victim is under the age of seventeen when the credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained which amounts to a value of three hundred dollars or more, but less than five hundred dollars, shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not less than one year and not more than three years, or may be fined not more than three thousand dollars, or both.

(4)(a)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained, possessed, or transferred, which amounts to a value less than three hundred dollars, shall be imprisoned for not more than six months, or may be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both.

(b)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when the victim is sixty years of age or older or a disabled person when the credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained which amounts to a value less than three hundred dollars, shall be imprisoned with or without hard labor, for not less than six months and not more than one year, or may be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both.

(c)  Whoever commits the crime of identity theft when the victim is under the age of seventeen when the credit, money, goods, services, or any thing else of value is obtained which amounts to a value less than three hundred dollars, shall be imprisoned with or without hard labor, for not less than six months and not more than one year, or may be fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both.

D.  Upon a third or subsequent conviction of a violation of the provisions of this Section, the offender shall be imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than twenty thousand dollars, or both.

E.  When there has been a theft by a number of distinct acts of the offender, the aggregate of the amount of the theft shall determine the grade of the offense.

F.  In addition to the foregoing penalties, a person convicted under this Section shall be ordered to make full restitution to the victim and any other person who has suffered a financial loss as a result of the offense.  If a person ordered to make restitution pursuant to this Section is found to be indigent and therefore unable to make restitution in full at the time of conviction, the court shall order a periodic payment plan consistent with the person's financial ability.

G.  The provisions of this Section shall not apply to any person who obtains another's driver's license or other form of identification for the sole purpose of misrepresenting his age.

H.(1)  Any person who has learned or reasonably suspects that his personal identifying information has been unlawfully used by another in violation of any provision of this Section may initiate a law enforcement investigation by contacting the local law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the area of his residence.  Any law enforcement agency which is requested to conduct an investigation under the provisions of this Subsection shall take a police report of the matter from the victim, provide the complainant with a copy of such report, and begin an investigation of the facts.  If the crime was committed in a different jurisdiction, the agency preparing the report shall refer the matter, with a copy of the report, to the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the area in which the alleged crime was committed for an investigation of the facts.

(2)  Any officer of any law enforcement agency who investigates an alleged violation in compliance with the provisions of this Subsection shall make a written report of the investigation that includes the name of the victim; the name of the suspect, if known; the type of personal identifying information obtained, possessed, transferred, or used in violation of this Section; and the results of the investigation.  At the request of the victim who has requested the investigation, the law enforcement agency shall provide to such victim the report created under the provisions of this Paragraph.  In providing the report, the agency shall eliminate any information that is included in the report other than the information required by this Paragraph.

 

To File a Report Contact the Village of Hessmer Police Department

Louisiana Credit Freeze Instructions

Background on Credit Freeze

If you are a resident of Louisiana, you have had the right as of July 1, 2005 to place a credit freeze on your credit report if you are a victim of identity theft who has filed a police, investigative report, or complaint to a law enforcement agency concerning identity theft. A Credit Freeze will prevent access to your credit report, allowing you to control which companies may see your credit report. However, there are certain exemptions to the Credit Freeze allowed by state law that allows companies to view your report even though it is frozen


How do I add a credit freeze?

To place a freeze, you must write to each of the three credit bureaus. Write to all three addresses below and include the information that follows:

Equifax Security Freeze P.O. Box 105788 Atlanta, GA 30348

Experian Security Freeze P.O. Box 9554 Allen, TX 75013

Trans Union Security Freeze P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

For each, you must:

  • Send a letter by certified mail
  • Provide your full name (including middle initial as well as Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.,) address, Social Security number, and date of birth
  • If you have moved in the past 5 years, supply the addresses where you have lived over the prior 5 years.
  • Provide proof of current address such as a current utility bill or phone bill
  • Send a photocopy of a government issued identification card (state driver's license or ID card, military identification, etc.)
  • If applicable, provide payment by check, money order or credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express or Discover only.)
How much will it cost?
$10 to place, $8 to lift, no fees for ID theft victims or persons age 62 or older.

Letters to Credit Bureaus

 

1. Letter to place an initial fraud alert
This is a letter you should send to one of the credit bureaus if you are concerned that your credit may be threatened due to identity theft. The bureau you send it to is required to notify the other two. You do not have to be a proven identity theft victim. Placing the alert will require creditors to call you for your approval before granting new credit. Fraud alerts are not failsafe because some businesses may neglect to confirm your identity. This initial alert lasts 90 days.
PDF, text 

2. Letter to place an extended fraud alert
If you are a documented identity theft victim and want to extend your fraud alert beyond 90 days, send this letter to one of the credit bureaus; that bureau is required to notify the other two. Be aware that alerts are also not failsafe because some businesses may neglect to confirm your identity. The fraud alert will be in place for seven years but can be temporarily lifted.
PDF, text

3. Letter to place a credit/security freeze
If your personal information has been compromised and you do not want any new credit to be granted in your name, send this letter to each of the credit bureaus. Once placed, even you cannot open new lines of credit until you remove the freeze, though you can temporarily lift the freeze (in some states you must pay a fee to do so). This offers more protection than a fraud alert.
PDF, text 

4. Letter to stop contact by a collection agency as an identity theft victim When your identity has been stolen, there is a large chance the person who stole your information incurred debt in your name. If you begin receiving calls from debt collectors, send this letter to inform them that the debt was created without your consent and asking them to cease communication.
PDF, text

 

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