New Mexico Identity Theft Laws

“Identity theft” can seem funny when portrayed in a Hollywood comedy, but in real life it can be closer to a horror movie. And with so much of our lives spent online these days, having your identity stolen through electronic fraud is even more of a danger. So what does it legally mean to have your identity stolen? And what is the Land of Enchantment doing to protect citizens from identity theft and prosecute identity thieves? This is a basic overview of identity theft laws in New Mexico.

Identity Theft Laws

Identity theft is when one person obtains the identifying information of another without authorization or consent and with the intent to defraud the person or sell the information to another for an illegal purpose. And as noted above, the more we use our private identifying information in public ways, like on the Internet for banking and bill payment, the more prevalent identity theft scams have become. Identity theft is a felony under New Mexico law, punishable by up to 18 years in prison, $15,000 in fines, and restitution to the victim.

New Mexico Identity Theft Statutes

New Mexico’s identity theft statutes are highlighted below.

Code Section

New Mexico Statutes 30-16-24.1: Theft of Identity

Classification of Crime/Penalties

4th Degree Felony

In addition to other punishment, perpetrator shall be ordered to make restitution to victim for out-of-pocket costs, attorney fees, costs to clear credit rating, costs of civil/administrative proceeding to satisfy debt, lien, or other obligation resulting from crime

Who May Prosecute

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Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws

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Civil Lawsuit Allowed?

-

Civil Remedies Available

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Misc.

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While identity theft laws can penalize criminals after the crime has occurred, it is up to you to protect yourself against identity theft:

  • Be diligent when reading your credit card statements, bank account statements, and any government statements to check for irregular activity;
  • Make any passwords hard to guess by using numbers, capital and lower case letters, and even symbols; and
  • Change passwords frequently, and definitely don't use the same password for all your accounts.

There are more resources on protecting yourself from identity theft in FindLaw’s consumer protection section.

More Resources for New Mexico Identity Theft Laws

State identity theft laws can be difficult to understand. For additional articles and resources on this topic, you can visit FindLaw's sections on Identity Theft Basics and Stolen Identity. If you would like legal assistance with an identity theft matter, you can consult with a New Mexico consumer protection attorney.

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