When people in Spokane thing of felony crimes, they may think of violent crimes, such as murder or sexual assault. However, some felonies are not violent, but can still cause substantial financial harm. These are known as "white-collar crimes," and a common one is identity theft.
Through identity theft, one person uses another's personal or financial information for their own gain. What are some examples of identity theft? Some identity theft scams are "low-tech." For example, a person may find a lost wallet or steal one to obtain and use another person's driver's license. Financial information can also be found by digging through a person's garbage or stealing their mail. Phone scams are another type of low-tech identity theft. Finally, identity theft can take place if a person peers over another person's shoulder while that person is completing a form, entering their password on a computer or entering their personal identification number at an ATM.
Other types of identity theft are "high-tech." This includes email scams and text message scams that look like they're coming from a financial institution, with links to enter personal information. People may also use spyware, in which a person installs a program on another person's computer that collects personal information. Computer viruses can also be used to collect personal information. In addition, skimming devices can take information from the magnetic strips on debit or credit cards. Social media can also be used to collect personal information.
This list of ways to commit identity theft is not all-exhaustive. There are other ways a person could commit identity theft. However, what is important is that identity theft can be a felony crime, meaning there are significant penalties associated with it. While it is not a violent crime, it is still a serious crime, and prosecutors will treat it as such. Therefore, those accused of identity theft or other white-collar crimes would be well-served to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney to represent them and look out for their interests.