Iowa Identity Theft Laws

In so many ways, telephones and computers have made our business and personal lives much more convenient. At the same time, we're more susceptible to identity theft than ever before. Simply put, identity theft is one person fraudulently using another person's identification information for financial gain. Fortunately, the Hawkeye State has laws to help protect us from just that situation. This is an introduction to identity theft laws in Iowa.

Identity Theft Laws

Identity thieves can use pieces of your personal identification like your name, date of birth, social security number, or driver's license number to gain access to your money. Identity theft is a felony in Iowa if the loss exceeds $1,000, and punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and $7,500 in fines.

Iowa Identity Theft Statutes

The chart below lists the details of Iowa’s identity theft statutes.

Code Section

Criminal: Iowa Code 715A.8: Identity Theft;

Civil: Iowa Code 714.16B: Identity Theft - Civil Cause of Action

Classification of Crime/Penalties

If loss is $1,000 or less: aggravated misdemeanor; if loss exceeds $1,000: class D felony

Who May Prosecute

Any prosecuting authority

Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws

-

Civil Lawsuit Allowed?

Civil action allowed

Civil Remedies Available

Greater of $1,000 or 3 times the actual damages; attorney fees and court costs

Misc.

The value of property or services stolen will be its highest value by any reasonable standard

Iowa's identity theft laws, as stringent as they are, can only be enforced after the theft has occurred. So here are some tips to protect yourself against identity theft before it happens:

  • Always be diligent when reading your credit card statements, bank account statements, and any government statements to check for irregular activity.
  • Shred all your bills and credit card offers before throwing them away.
  • Monitor your credit report and any posted credit activity.
  • Beware of telemarketers asking for your social security number, and be wary of giving your personal information over the phone.
  • Make your passwords hard to guess by using numbers, capital and lower case letters, and even symbols, and change them frequently.
  • Definitely don't use the same password for all your accounts.

FindLaw's Consumer Protection section has more information on protecting yourself from identity theft, consumer scams, and deceptive trade practices.

Iowa Identity Theft Laws: Related Resources

Identity theft laws may not be the easiest to understand. You can find additional articles and resources in FindLaw's sections on Identity Theft Basics and Stolen Identity. You can consult with an Iowa consumer protection attorney if you would like legal advice regarding an identity theft issue.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.