Ohio takes identity theft (known as identity fraud throughout the state) seriously. In fact, if you are arrested for identity fraud, you face felony charges. Depending on the circumstances of the crime, you may be charged with anything from a fifth-degree to a first-degree felony.
Further, if you commit identity fraud against an elderly person or disabled adult, you face even harsher penalties. Now, thanks to the passage of a new bill, individuals who commit identity fraud against active-duty service members in Ohio are subject to strict punishments.
Active-duty service members may be targeted by identity theft criminals:
Before deployment — Prior to deployment, an active-duty service member must quickly take care of many issues relating to his or her finances, home, children and business. An identity thief may see such a time as an opportunity to discreetly obtain personal information.
During deployment — During deployment, an active-duty service member may not realize that his or her personal information has been stolen. Identity thieves may take advantage of the fact that service members are abroad and unable to manage their finances and personal affairs. Upon returning home, an active-duty service member who has been the victim of identity fraud may be confronted with many devastating financial and personal issues.
In addition to increasing the criminal penalties, the new identity fraud active-duty service legislation allows victims to file civil lawsuits against offenders. Specifically, it allows the victim to recover up to $5,000 for each violation or three times the amount of the actual damages, whichever is greater.