Identity theft doesn’t simply happen in one way. In fact, there are at least a dozen different offenses that are classified as identity theft in Colorado. That includes unemployment fraud – something Colorado is taking extra steps to prevent as many people file unemployment claims.
Following a rash of false unemployment claims, the Colorado Department of Labor has instituted a new ID verification system. It is designed to combat the rise in these fake claims, which have slowed the process of getting unemployment for those filing for benefits legally.
It’s not simply unemployment fraud that Colorado authorities have their eyes on, though. Under Colorado law, there is a myriad of activities that are classified as identity theft. Identity theft is defined as any form of theft that involves using another person’s identifying information.
Understand what activities are considered as such, the criminal charges you could face for each of them, and the penalties a conviction carries when you’re caught in this state. Below we have outlined each of the 12 identity theft crimes identified by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Financial Identity Theft
This is the type of identity theft most people think of when they hear the term. It involves using a form of identification for another to access their credit or financial resources.
Employment or Benefits Identity Theft
This form of identity theft involves using someone’s social security number in order to gain access to unemployment benefits, obtain employment, or claim veterans or public benefits.
Medical Identity Theft
If you use the identity of someone else to gain access to medical services, then this type of theft is perpetrated. This includes any medical services, substance abuse or psychiatric treatment, or prescriptions.
Criminal Identity Theft
This occurs when someone who uses the identification of another is charged with a crime under that identity.
Tax-Related Identity Theft
This occurs when the social security number of another is used to obtain a fraudulent tax refund or file a fraudulent tax return.
Child and At-Risk Adult Identity Theft
If the victim of the identity theft is under 18 or an older adult with a disability, then this can be charged.
Business Identity Theft
This crime is committed when someone changes listings for a business with the Secretary of State in order to sell the business, obtain credit, divert business, obtain identifying information of customers, or divert business.
Domestic Violence/Stalking Identity Theft
When identity theft is committed as a part of a stalking or domestic violence incident, then this can be charged.
Social Security Number Identity Theft
If the social security number of another person is used to open fraudulent accounts, then this can be charged.
Biometric Identity Theft
This form of fraud involves spoofing or stealing a person’s behavior or physical characteristics in order to unlock a device, such as one that requires voice or facial recognition. This can give the perpetrator access to private information.
Internet of Things Identity Fraud
This involves someone exploiting a security flaw in a device connected to the internet in order to access personal data.
Fraud is also often a crime involving identity theft since money or personal identifying information can be used for financial gain. It can include things such as lottery fraud or romance fraud.
All of these charges can result in an identity theft conviction, and here in Colorado, identity theft is a Class 4 felony. That means you stand to spend up to six years in prison and fines for as much as $500,000 per count. Furthermore, in many cases, prison time for identity theft is mandatory.
If you have been accused of identity theft and have questions about your charges, or if you need help navigating the justice system, reach out to an experienced Colorado criminal defense attorney for your best chances of mounting a solid defense.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.