Stealing someone's personal information or pretending to be someone else used to be quite difficult and often required intricate knowledge about the person being impersonated. However, that was prior to the widespread use of the Internet. Nowadays, bank transactions, personal information and other formerly private data can be accessed quite easily online; though not always by the proper parties.
Computer hacking and identity theft have become more common offenses since people started communicating so heavily through digital mediums. And these offenses can be even more common during the holidays when there is a spike in online transactions. Consumers are made aware of this trend and law enforcement agents know this as well, so it may not be all that surprising to know that they will be on the lookout for people associated with computer fraud and identity theft this holiday season.
What this means for people who may be involved in these behaviors is that there could be an increased likelihood of being caught and punished during the holidays. In Minnesota, crimes including identify theft are taken very seriously. The law specifically prohibits a person from transferring, using or being in possession of someone else's identity with the intent of committing a crime.
Depending on the number of people affected by theft efforts as well as the amount of money that is stolen, a person charged with identity theft could be facing huge fines, restitution payments and potentially between one and 20 years imprisonment.
With so many vulnerable people and transactions online, especially during the holidays, it can be fairly easy for a person to gain unlawful access to someone's account or pose as someone else online. But doing so is illegal and could get a person into some serious trouble.
Authorities can be quite focused on tracking down people accused of computer fraud or identity theft during this time of year, and they may spare no expense when it comes to investigating a potential threat and filing charges. Those who ultimately come into the crosshairs of an investigation may be wise to speak with an attorney to understand what they can do to defend themselves.