Identity Theft Laws in Alabama
by Terri Ellefsen
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that nearly 9 million Americans are the victims of identity theft every year. Alabama is no different, according Attorney General Troy King. In a letter to Alabama residents on Familyprotection.alabama.gov, King says he is committed to fighting the crime that costs Alabama residents time and money yearly in trying to clear their name. Alabama law provides residents civil and criminal remedies when their identity has been stolen.
Identity thieves are prosecuted criminally and civilly in Alabama.
Felony or Misdemeanor
Identity theft is the intent to defraud another person by accessing or obtaining personal identification records without his consent. Those records may be used for financial gain, or obtaining goods and benefits in the name of the victim. Identity theft in Alabama is considered a Class C felony if the victim loses more than $250 or if the defendant is a repeat offender. The crime is a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant has no previous identity theft convictions or the victim loses less than $250.
Trafficking in Stolen Identities
A person is charged with trafficking in stolen identities if he manufactures, sells or purchases identification documents without the consent or permission of the victim with the intent to steal that person's identity. It is a crime if the defendant possesses either five or more identification documents from the same person, or identification documents of five or more people. Trafficking in stolen identities is a Class B felony in Alabama.
Trafficking in stolen identities involves the possession of false ID documents.
A person is charged with obstructing justice if she uses identification documents of another to avoid being arrested or prosecuted for any crime. The defendant is charged with obstructing justice when she uses the false identification to impede any criminal investigation. It is a Class C felony in Alabama.
Victims may seek restitution for any financial loss caused by identity theft. Financial losses include money spent by the victim in correcting his credit history and rating, or debts accrued as a result of the identity theft.
Identity theft victims may file a civil lawsuit against the defendant seeking damages or additional costs. As part of the civil suit, the judge may order the defendant to pay the greater of $5,000 for each incident or three times the actual damage. The victim may also request attorney and court costs.