Louisiana Identity Theft Laws
As Americans use their personal identifying information in a wider and wider variety of contexts, identity theft scams are becoming more and more sophisticated. Put simply, identity theft entails one person using the identifying information of another for financial gain. Luckily, there are laws in place to help protect Louisiana residents from the worst effects of identity theft. This article represents a brief summary of identity theft laws in Louisiana.
Identity Theft Laws
The "personal identifying information" identity thieves are searching for can be anything your name and date of birth to your social security number and driver's license number. In Louisiana, identity theft punishments vary depending on the amount of the financial loss, the number of offenses and previous criminal history.
Louisiana Identity Theft Statutes
Identity theft laws in Louisiana are highlighted in the chart below.
|Code Section||La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §14:67.16 (West 1999)|
|Classification of Crime/Penalties||If loss of $1,000 or more: imprisonment with or without hard labor up to 10 years, or fine up to $10,000, or both; if loss of $500 or more, but less than $1,000: imprisonment with or without hard labor up to 5 years, or fine up to $5,000, or both; if loss of $300 or more, but less than $500: imprisonment with or without hard labor up to 3 years, or fine up to $3,000, or both; if loss of less than $300: imprisonment with or without hard labor up to 6 months, or fine up to $500, or both, but if there have been 2 or more previous convictions: imprisonment with or without hard labor up to 3 years, or fine up to $3,000, or both; perpetrator may be ordered to make full restitution to victim and any other person who suffers financial loss|
|Who May Prosecute||Any prosecuting authority|
|Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws||Criminal statute does not apply to minors seeking to obtain privileges denied to minors|
|Civil Lawsuit Allowed?||-|
|Civil Remedies Available||-|
Louisiana’s identity theft laws are merely remedies after the theft and misuse has occurred. Therefore, it’s up to you to protect yourself against identity theft:
- Monitor your credit report and any posted credit activity.
- Always be diligent when reading your credit card statements, bank account statements, and any government statements to check for irregular activity.
- Use only your first and middle initials and last name on pre-printed checks and consider having them routed to a post office box.
- 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 can give you more information on protecting you from identity theft, scams, or businesses engaging in unfair trade practices.
Related Resources for Louisiana Identity Theft Laws:
Identity theft can be difficult to understand and hard to fix once it has happened. If you would like legal assistance with an identity theft matter, you can contact a Louisiana consumer protection attorney. You can also visit FindLaw's Identity Theft Basics and Stolen Identity sections for more articles and resources on this topic.