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Montana Identity Theft Laws

Identity theft is a crime that involves the use (or theft) of another person's personal identifiable information, such as Social Security number and birth date, to open credit accounts and other illegal acts.

Personal Identifying Information

Personal identifying information includes the victim’s:

  • Name, address, and telephone number;
  • Birth date;
  • Driver's license and social security number;
  • Place of employment and employee identification number;
  • Mother's maiden name;
  • Bank account or credit card information;
  • Any other identifying information.

Identity Theft In Montana

Under Montana's identity theft laws the first offense can be charged as a misdemenor or felony depending on the circumstances.

If you believe you might be a victim of identity theft, it is important that you take immediate and thorough action. Report the crime right away to law enforcement. Close your bank accounts and cancel your credit cards. Put a password on the new accounts that you open. You might not stop all the damage, but at least you can minimize it.

Contact Credit Bureaus

If you are a victim of identity theft, you should also contact the three (3) nationwide credit bureaus immediately and set up a fraud alert. A fraud alert tells banks and other creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name, but it will not stop credit in your name. A fraud alert is free and will last 90 days unless you request an extended seven-year fraud alert and provide a police report.

The details of Montana's identity theft laws are listed below. See FindLaw's Identity Theft section for tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and how to recover from the crime.

Code Section Mont. Code Ann. §45-6-332 (2001)
Classification of Crime/Penalties
  • Identity theft resulting in economic loss of $1,500 or less: misdemeanor, up to six (6) months in jail, a fine of up to $1,500, or both.
  • Identity theft resulting in economic loss of $1,500 or more: Possible felony, up to 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.
  • Court may also order the defendant to pay restitution to the victim for any costs incurred as a result of the theft, including the costs of defending any civil lawsuits or clearing the victim’s credit history.
Who May Prosecute? Montana District Attorney's Office
Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws It is not violation of criminal statute to obtain credit information in course of bona fide transaction, lawfully and in good faith exercise a security interest or right of offset as a creditor or financial institution, lawfully comply, in good faith, with any warrant, levy, garnishment, etc. when required to do so.
Civil Lawsuit Allowed? Yes
Civil Remedies Available Possible lawsuits for lawsuits for negligence, fraud, misrepresentation, invasion of privacy, breach of fiduciary duty, defamation, breach of contract, negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress and others, depending on the state law and the circumstances.
Misc. Penalties Criminal invasion of privacy is punishable by up to one (1) year in jail, a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Montana consumer protection attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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