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What Does an Identity Theft Attorney Do?

There are many ways you can commit identity theft and benefit from someone’s accounts, ID, or services. Identity theft uses identifiable information, such as a driver’s license or account number, to open credit accounts, steal services, or obtain assets. North Carolina law metes out severe penalties for identity theft perpetrators. However, an experienced identity theft attorney may help you navigate a legal system that has little empathy for those who commit identity theft. Let’s look at how an identity theft attorney may help you move forward despite the charges you face.

Types of Identity Theft in NC

According to Experian, there are 20 different types of identity theft happening in the United States right now. Some of those types of identity theft include:

  • Account Takeover Fraud: According to Javelin, account takeover fraud accounted for 53% of all existing-account fraud in 2019. If you take over someone else’s account without their knowledge or permission and use it to make fraudulent transactions, transfer money or gain access to additional accounts
  • Debit Card Fraud or Credit Card Fraud: Debit and credit card fraud occurs when you use someone’s card without permission. Even if you just use the credit card number and other information to make unauthorized transactions or gain access to other accounts, this is a form of identity theft.
  • Driver’s License Identity Theft: Using someone else’s driver’s license information at a traffic stop or using their address, driver’s license number, or other sensitive information is a form of criminal identity theft. 
  • Mail Identity Theft: Stealing checks out of mailboxes, altering and cashing them. Stealing a credit card out of a mailbox 
  • Online Shopping Fraud: Involves hacking into website accounts and making unapproved purchases. If you’re a hacker using illegitimate wifi to collect data, you’re committing a form of identity theft. Another form is when you own a fake website designed to collect others’ sensitive data.
  • Social Security Number Identity Theft: Using someone’s Social Security number to open accounts for your own gain
  • Senior Identity Theft and Scams: Asking elderly for their passwords and personal information by using a guise such as impersonating an IRS or Medicare officer
  • Child Identity Theft: Using Social Security numbers, birthdays, addresses, and more to open fraudulent accounts. If you use a child’s info to apply for government benefits, take out loans, or find other ways to rack up debt in the child’s name. 
  • Tax Identity Theft: Using someone’s personal information, such as their Social Security number, to file a tax return in your name and collect a refund. 
  • Biometric ID Theft: Stealing or spoofing a person’s physical or behavioral characteristics to unlock a device
  • Synthetic Identity Theft: If you use a mix of actual personal consumer data, such as Social Security numbers, addresses, and birthdays, from various people to create new fictitious identities designed to look like real consumers with good credit.
  • Medical Identity Theft: If you pose as another person to receive medical services. 
  • Mortgage Fraud: taking out a home equity line of credit or 2nd mortgage using ill-gotten mortgage information
  • Home Title Fraud: when you gain possession of someone’s property title and change ownership to yourself
  • Lost or Stolen Passport: passport numbers sell on the dark web.
  • Internet of Things Identity Fraud: using synced devices to slip through the cracks and steal sensitive information

Identity Theft Laws in NC

According to NC Law, you commit felony-level identity theft if you knowingly get, possess, or use identifying information from another person (living or dead):

  • With the intent to fraudulently represent someone 
  • To make financial or credit transactions in the other person’s name
  • To obtain anything of value, benefit, or advantage
  • Or to avoid legal consequences

There are many types of identifying information that you can get, possess, or use that are illegal, including:

  • Social security or employer taxpayer-identification numbers
  • Drivers license, State identification card, or passport numbers
  • Checking account numbers
  • Savings account numbers
  • Credit card numbers
  • Debit card numbers
  • Personal Identification (PIN) 
  • Electronic identification numbers, electronic mail names, or addresses
  • Internet account numbers or Internet identification names
  • Digital signatures
  • Any other numbers or information to access a person’s financial resources
  • Biometric data
  • Fingerprints
  • Passwords
  • Parent’s legal surname before marriage

Identity theft is automatically a Class G felony in NC. Even as a first-time offender in North Carolina, you may face felony charges, up to 80 months in prison, and a fine of up to $50,000. You may also see the victim of the crime in civil court as they sue you for monetary damages. A victim of identity fraud may sue for civil damages up to $5,000 per identity theft incident or three times the actual damages.

If the identity theft victim suffers arrest, detention, or conviction due to your actions, your crime is a Class F felony, and you may need to pay restitution, including monetary damages, lost wages, attorney and court fees.

What Does an Identity Theft Attorney Do for My Case?

An experienced theft attorney knows to research your case thoroughly, including looking at police reports, talking with any witnesses, determining if there is hearsay evidence, looking at your past offenses, and considering whether your rights were violated in any way. 

An attorney’s office with experience in the district attorney’s office in the past knows how the process works and how best to negotiate for your rights. Whether you committed a crime or not, you still possess rights and deserve respect. Your attorney lets your voice come through amid the legal judicial process. 

We Can Help

At Scharff Law, we dedicate ourselves to fighting for the rights of those whose voice sometimes gets lost in the legal process. We understand that being accused of something does not make you guilty. We represent your best interests in every negotiation with the district attorney in your case. Our team works to find the best outcome in your particular case. Contact us today and find out how we can help you keep moving forward.


  1. https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/20-types-of-identity-theft-and-fraud/
  2. https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-113.20.pdf