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Can identity theft victims be charged for criminal activities?

Identity theft is a major problem in California and across the country. When one's personal information is compromised, there is no telling how that information may be used. While in most cases this data is utilized for personal financial gain, there are some instances in which this information may be used by those suspected of committing criminal acts. This is called criminal identity theft, and though it does not happen often, it can leave victims fighting to clear their names.

Criminal identity theft occurs when a suspect gives police a victim's information rather than his or her own. In doing so, a criminal record is then created in the victim's name as opposed to the individual who allegedly committed the crime. This can create a lot of problems for the victim legally, personally and professionally.

Victims of criminal identity theft can be arrested and charged for crimes committed by someone else. However, it is possible to fight to have one's name cleared of any wrongdoing. In order to do this it will be necessary to verify one's personal information has, in fact, been compromised. For some, this may require going to court in order to seek what is called a finding of factual innocence.

After a person has been able to establish that he or she is the victim of identity theft, he or she will then be able to register for the California Criminal Identity Theft Registry. Being on this list can help to prevent any future issues, such as being denied housing or employment -- among others. While being placed in a situation like this may seem like a nightmare, with the help of counsel a victim may be able to resolve this type of issue quickly, allowing him or her to move forward.

Source:, "How to Use the California Identity Theft Registry - A Guide for Victims of "Criminal" Identity Theft", Accessed on Sept. 23, 2015

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Former Criminal Prosecutor With Proven Results