Today, consumers have to worry about their identities being stolen and used inappropriately by others for financial gain or to avoid arrest. Falling victim to identity theft can ruin your credit or your good name with an inaccurate arrest or criminal record. As a result, it’s important to keep your identifying information safe to prevent this crime.
The chart below outlines the main identity theft laws in Mississippi.
|Code Sections||Mississippi Code, Title 97, Chapter 45: Computer Crimes & Identity Theft and Sections 97-9-79: False Information, 97-19-83: Mail Fraud, and 97-19-85: Fraudulent Use of Identity|
|What is Prohibited?||Identity theft in Mississippi law includes multiple different crimes related to using someone else identity, including:
If another crime was committed in the process of the identity theft, for example theft for stealing a license and credit cards from a purse, you can also be charged with that crime.
|Penalty||The penalty varies by the type of identity theft-related crime and circumstances, as follows:
|Prosecuting Agency||Mississippi Attorney General’s Office or local district attorney’s office can prosecute identity theft crimes, as can the federal government for crimes that crossed state lines.
Defendants can be charged a civil penalty of double the reasonable costs of the attorney general’s Office, district attorney’s office, and law enforcement departments involved in investigating and prosecuting the identity theft crime(s). The money collected be divided among the agencies that worked on the case.
Victims can request the Attorney General help them get information to correct errors on their credit report or other identifying information, but they can’t be legally represented by the Attorney General.
|Civil Remedies||Identity theft victims who have charges, an arrest record, or conviction allegedly on their criminal record wrongly can file a petition for expungement of those charges or arrest records in the court they come from. The Attorney General’s Office can also provide these victims with “Identity Theft Passports” verifying a court order clearing their names.|
If you’ve been charged with identity theft, you should immediately speak to an experienced Mississippi criminal defense lawyer or your public defender if you can’t afford a lawyer. On the other hand, if you’ve been the victim of an identity theft, you should take steps to protect yourself in the future. You may also want to speak to a local consumer protection attorney who can help you reclaim your losses.
Note: State laws are revised frequently. Please contact an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these laws.
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