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Identity theft- Horowitz Law

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Identity theft is prevalent and getting more and more so in our fast-paced, Internet-connected world. What exactly is identity theft? What laws are used to prosecute identity theft? What should you do if you are a victim of identity theft? How can you protect yourself from it? All these questions and more are framed and answered in this presentation about identity theft.

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Identity theft- Horowitz Law

  1. 1. CHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZCHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZ ATTORNEYS AT LAWATTORNEYS AT LAW HOROWITZ LAWHOROWITZ LAW 1032 SANTA BARBARA STREET1032 SANTA BARBARA STREET SANTA BANTA BARBARA, CA 93101SANTA BANTA BARBARA, CA 93101 (805) 452-7214(805) 452-7214 CHRIS@HOROWITZFORLAW.COMCHRIS@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM SANDY@HOROWITZFORLAW.COMSANDY@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM WWW.HOROWITZFORLAW.COMWWW.HOROWITZFORLAW.COM Protecting Against Identity Theft
  2. 2. What is Identity Theft?  Identity theft occurs when someone represents that he/she is you…  by using your personal information;  Obtained without your consent; and  Does so for either fraudulent or other unlawful, improper purpose.
  3. 3. What is Identity Theft?  In an "account takeover," the person gains access to an existing, legitimate account using your personal information.  Someone who uses your personal information to avoid prosecution commits "criminal" identity theft.
  4. 4. Where do they get your personal information?  Although computer "hacking" gets the biggest headlines, mail theft, dumpster diving, and theft of company records by employees continue to be the most common ways of obtaining personal information.  Obtaining personal information such as: passwords, social security numbers, birth certificates, and taxes.
  5. 5. Fraudulent Tax ReturnsFraudulent Tax Returns  During tax season, identity theft is mostDuring tax season, identity theft is most common in fraudulent tax returns.common in fraudulent tax returns.  In this manner, identity theft occurs through aIn this manner, identity theft occurs through a stolen social security numberstolen social security number that is filed on a taxthat is filed on a tax return claiming areturn claiming a fraudulent refundfraudulent refund..  Protect your personal information upon receivingProtect your personal information upon receiving tax advice while viewing e-mails or receivingtax advice while viewing e-mails or receiving telephone calls.telephone calls.  Give your social security number only when it isGive your social security number only when it is required.required.
  6. 6. What laws are used to prosecute cases of Identity Theft?  In California, Penal Code section 530.5, Using Personal Information of Another, is perhaps the most common law charged in connection with Identity Theft.  It can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.  Punishments include a fine, jail time not exceeding one year (misdemeanor), or up to 3 years in county jail (felony).
  7. 7. What laws are used to prosecute cases of Identity Theft?  It is commonly charged in conjunction with other charges including grand theft, credit card fraud, perjury, and burglary statutes.  PC 487, Grand Theft  PC 484f(e), Access Card Fraud  PC 459, Burglary
  8. 8. What should I do if I am a victim of Identity Theft?  Be sure to report the crime to your local law enforcement agency and obtain a copy of the police report.  Contact the three major credit reporting companies.  Ask them to place a fraud alert on your credit report and to indicate on your reports…  "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at [telephone number] to verify all applications."
  9. 9. What should I do if I am a victim of Identity Theft?  Ask the credit bureaus to remove inquiries generated due to the fraudulent accounts and to remove the items that are due to the criminal activity of the identity thief.  Ask the IRS to issue an Identity Protection PINs (IP PINs).  These pins are assigned annually to victims of identity theft for unresolved cases when filing their federal tax return.
  10. 10. What should I do if I am a victim of Identity Theft?  Here’s where to write or call:  Equifax, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374, 1- 888-766-0008  Experian, P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013, 1-888- 397-3742  TransUnion, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834, 1-800-680-7289
  11. 11. Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
  12. 12. Protect Yourself from Identity Theft  The safest way to protect yourself from being a victim of identity theft is to shred papers containing your personal information before throwing it way in the trash.  Ask your credit cards to freeze your accounts when any suspicious activity arises.  Let your banks know in advance of any new business or loans.
  13. 13. Protect yourself from IdentityProtect yourself from Identity TheftTheft  Limit access to your accountsLimit access to your accounts  Change passwords and logins monthlyChange passwords and logins monthly  Check your accounts regularlyCheck your accounts regularly  Monitor your credit reportsMonitor your credit reports
  14. 14. Protect yourself from IdentityProtect yourself from Identity TheftTheft  Pay for online purchases with a credit cardPay for online purchases with a credit card rather than a debit cardrather than a debit card  Be alert for “phishing,”Be alert for “phishing,”  Never give out personal information over theNever give out personal information over the phone, emails, and on unsecure websitesphone, emails, and on unsecure websites
  15. 15. Protect yourself from IdentityProtect yourself from Identity TheftTheft  A thief's effort toA thief's effort to steal Rep. Jimsteal Rep. Jim Renacci's identityRenacci's identity to secure ato secure a fraudulent IRSfraudulent IRS refund hasrefund has prompted Renacciprompted Renacci to introduceto introduce legislation tolegislation to combat identitycombat identity theft at IRS.theft at IRS.
  16. 16. Protect yourself from IdentityProtect yourself from Identity TheftTheft  A criminal's effort toA criminal's effort to impersonate Rep. Jimimpersonate Rep. Jim Renacci and file aRenacci and file a bogus tax return in hisbogus tax return in his name has promptedname has prompted the Wadsworththe Wadsworth Republican toRepublican to introduce Internalintroduce Internal Revenue ServiceRevenue Service reforms to thwartreforms to thwart identity theft.identity theft.
  17. 17. Protect yourself from IdentityProtect yourself from Identity TheftTheft  The fake return boreThe fake return bore Renacci's and hisRenacci's and his wife's actual Socialwife's actual Social Security numbers andSecurity numbers and a dummied-up W2a dummied-up W2 form for hisform for his congressional income.congressional income. Now, as the IRS investigates, Renacci is focusing on reforms to prevent future fraud. "Last year, 52,000 Ohioans were victims of identity theft in all forms," says Renacci.
  18. 18. Resources  https://www.identitytheft.gov/https://www.identitytheft.gov/  Wall Street Journal,Wall Street Journal, Identity Theft & CreditIdentity Theft & Credit Card Fraud- How to Protect Yourself.Card Fraud- How to Protect Yourself.  IRS,IRS, Identity Theft a Major Concern on the IRSIdentity Theft a Major Concern on the IRS Annual “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams toAnnual “Dirty Dozen” List of Tax Scams to Avoid.Avoid.
  19. 19. CHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZCHRISTY HOROWITZ & SANFORD HOROWITZ ATTORNEYS AT LAWATTORNEYS AT LAW HOROWITZ LAWHOROWITZ LAW 1032 SANTA BARBARA STREET1032 SANTA BARBARA STREET SANTA BANTA BARBARA, CA 93101SANTA BANTA BARBARA, CA 93101 (805) 452-7214(805) 452-7214 CHRIS@HOROWITZFORLAW.COMCHRIS@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM SANDY@HOROWITZFORLAW.COMSANDY@HOROWITZFORLAW.COM WWW.HOROWITZFORLAW.COMWWW.HOROWITZFORLAW.COM Protecting Against Identity Theft

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