Overview of Missouri Identity Theft Laws
Identity theft was a problem before the Internet, when thieves would dig through garbage or use other low-tech means of obtaining sensitive personal information, but computer networks have made it much more pervasive. The crime of identity theft, enforced primarily at the state level, involves the use of another individual's personally identifying information to open credit card accounts and otherwise engage in fraud.
Missouri identity theft laws are similar to such laws in other states, with increased penalties for theft resulting in higher amounts of appropriated property (the debt load misappropriated to the victim). An offense that does not result in appropriation of credit or property is charged as a class B misdemeanor, while an offense resulting in losses of $50,000 or more is a class A felony.
What is Considered Personally Identifying Information?
Any sensitive information commonly used for authentication (proving to another party that you are who say you are) is considered "personally identifying" data. Missouri statute offers the following examples:
Identity theft can create a lot of frustrations for victims, including damaged credit scores and difficulty securing credit. Additional details about Missouri's identity theft laws are listed in the following table. See FindLaw's Identity Theft section to learn more.
|Code Section||Mo. Rev. Stat. §570.223 (1999)|
|Classification of Crime/Penalties||First offense: up to 6 months in jail; second offense: up to 1 year in jail; third or subsequent offense: 1 to 5 years imprisonment; court may order restitution for costs to correct credit history and any costs of civil/administrative proceeding to satisfy debt, lien, judgment, or other obligation resulting from crime|
|Who May Prosecute||Any prosecuting authority|
|Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws||-|
|Civil Lawsuit Allowed?||Yes. Plaintiff may claim up to $5,000 in damages per incident or three times the amount of actual damages, whichever is greater. Plaintiff also may recover reasonable attorney's fees.
Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Missouri criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
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Missouri Identity Theft Laws: Related Resources
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