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Illinois Identity Theft Laws

In the present era, identity theft is a common occurrence which many people have either experienced personally or heard about from someone they know. Although the crime is most often associated with the theft of a person's credit or debit card number to make unauthorized purchases, several other types of information -- some basic and publicly available -- are also encompassed within those subject to the law's protection (and punishment).

Keep in mind that identity theft often preceeds other types of fraud and financial crimes.

Illinois Identity Theft Laws: The Basics

Under Illinois identity theft law, "personal identifying" data can include items such as an individual's address, date of birth, Social Security number, and personal identification number (PIN).

With respect to the basic and aggravated forms of identity theft, the statute provides that the accused person's knowledge will be determined by an evaluation of all circumstances surrounding his or her use of the other person's identifying information or document. Where the value of the credit, money, goods, services, or other property is an element of the offense charged, the court or a jury will decide whether such value exceeds the requisite amount.

Additional details are listed below.

Statute

Illinois Criminal Code, Article 16, Subdivision 15

Statutory Definition of Identity Theft

A person commits identity theft when he or she knowingly does any of the following:

  • Uses any personal identifying information or personal identification document of another person to fraudulently obtain credit, money, goods, services, or other property
  • Uses any personal identification information or personal identification document of another with intent to commit any felony not set forth above
  • Obtains, records, possesses, sells, transfers, purchases, or manufactures any personal identification information or personal identification document of another with intent to commit any felony
  • Uses, obtains, records, possesses, sells, transfers, purchases, or manufactures any personal identification information or personal identification document of another knowing that such personal identification information or personal identification documents were stolen or produced without lawful authority
  • Uses, transfers, or possesses document-making implements to produce false identification or false documents with knowledge that they will be used by the person or another to commit any felony
  • Uses any personal identification information or personal identification document of another to portray himself or herself as that person, or to gain access to any personal identification information or personal identification document of such person, without his or her prior express permission
  • Uses any personal identification information or personal identification document of another to gain access to any record of the actions taken, communications made or received, or other activities or transactions of such person, without his or her prior express permission
  • In the course of applying for a building permit, provides the license number of a roofing or fire sprinkler contractor whom he or she does not intend to have perform said work
Statutory Definition of "Pesonal Identification Document"

Any document made or issued by a governmental entity that is "of a type intended for the purpose of identification of an individual," or any such document that falsely purports to have been made on behalf of or issued to another person, or by the authority of one who did not give that authority.

Examples include a birth certificate, driver's license, Social Security card, credit card, and debit card.

Aggravated Identity Theft

Aggravated offense occurs when a person commits identity theft

  1. Against a person 60 years of age or older or a person with a disability; or
  2. In furtherance of the activities of an organized gang.
Sentences and Penalties

Class A misdemeanor: Up to 364 days in prison, up to $2,500 fine

Class 4 felony: 1-3 yrs. in prison, up to $25,000 fine

Class 3 felony: 2-5 yrs. in prison, up to $25,000 fine

Class 2 felony: 3-7 yrs. in prison, up to $25,000 fine

Class 1 felony: 4-15 yrs. in prison, up to $25,000 fine

Class X felony: 6-30 yrs. in prison, up to $25,000 fine

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

How Identity Theft is Charged in Illinois

Identity theft convictions in Illinois range nearly the full spectrum of felony offenses, from Class 4 felonies on the "low" end to Class X felonies on the high end. The grade of a person's particular conviction will depend on the value of the credit, money, goods, services, or other property stolen, as well as aggravating factors such as previous convictions for related crimes and the victim's status as an active duty member of the Armed Services or Reserve Forces of the United States or of the Illinois National Guard.

Generally, the presence of an aggravating factor will raise a person's conviction to the next highest grade, or in some instances two grades in the presence of multiple aggravating factors. Thus, identity theft of credit, money, goods, services, or other property of up to $300 in value is normally a Class 4 felony, but will be classified a Class 3 felony if one of the aforementioned factors are present. The highest grade bestowed on a conviction for identity theft of credit, money, goods, services, or other property is a Class X felony, where the value of the stolen property exceeds $100,000.

A conviction of identity theft effectuated by any means other than the fraudulent obtaining of credit, money, goods, services, or other property is a Class 3 felony; commission of the offense related to an application for a building permit is a Class 4 felony.

Aggravated identity theft convictions range from Class 3 felonies for theft of credit, money, goods, services, or other property between $300-$10,000 in value, to Class X felonies for theft of credit, money, goods, services, or other property exceeding $100,000 in value.

Research the Law

Illinois Identity Theft Laws: Related Resources

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Identity theft is a serious crime that is linked to other crimes, such as financial fraud and theft. Whether you have been charged with using sophisticated computer programs to access sensitive data or were caught dumptster diving for old receipts, you will want to get a handle on the law. Have an Illinois criminal defense attorney review your case today, at no cost.

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