Identity Theft

Identity theft

Identity Theft Lawyer

What is identity theft?

The crime of identity theft, also called usurpation of civil status, consists of appropriating the identity of another person, pretending to be that person, and supplanting his civil status, that is, using data such as name, surname, age, nationality, sex, or family status of the victim, to enjoy a series of benefits and resources.

Due to this lucrative nature, it is a fraudulent offense. The consummation of this usurpation occurs when the active subject performs actions or legal processes supplanting the identity of the passive subject.

Identity Theft Lawyer. Esteban Criminal Lawyers
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Identity Theft in the Penal Code

Criminal Lawyers in Identity Theft Crime

The usurpation of identity is a crime typified in Article 401 of the Penal Code, whose protected legal right is the security of legal relations and actions.

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The intentionality of the crime of identity theft

To convict this crime, it is necessary to consider the attitude or intention with which the perpetrator acts. The following requirements must be met:

  • When the objective of identity theft is to obtain some service or to use the signature of documents or contracts in the victim’s name.
  • When it is used to get money, make loans or credits in the name of the usurped person.
  • When the usurpation of identity is carried out to commit a crime, with the purpose that the passive subject is prosecuted as responsible for such crime.

Types of identity theft offenses

Usurpation of identity in slander or libel

Slander is any action or expression that attacks another person’s dignity, undermining his or her integrity and reputation. Libel is the imputation of a crime to a person, knowing the falsity of such imputation and acting with reckless disregard for the truth. Slanders or libels can be made to cause damage to the person impersonated or to obtain an economic benefit.

Identity theft in computer fraud scams

Computer fraud is one of the most frequent crimes associated with identity theft in recent times. The main objective of the usurper is to obtain a benefit thanks to a series of behaviors:

  • Appropriating the victim’s money by stealing bank account passwords.
  • Disseminating private images or videos on social networks, thanks to the theft of passwords, to harm and damage the image of the victim.
  • Another of the most frequent behaviors consists of threatening or extorting the victim by disseminating or disclosing photos, data, documents, financial information, or bank accounts that have economic relevance for the passive subject.
  • Usurp another person’s identity to falsify credit cards to obtain a monetary or material benefit for it and get loans, mortgages, or any other service that has an economic cost for the victim.

Identity theft in computer sabotage

Computer sabotage is also a commonplace type concerning the crime of identity theft. In this case, all criminal conducts are carried out by computer means, and all of them are performed by the person responsible for the usurpation, although due to this impersonation, the person responsible seems to be the victim of identity theft. Some of the frequent actions are:

  • Usurp the identity of an employee of the company to obtain and steal information from that company and cause damage to it.
  • Installing spyware to get confidential information, documents, and data, whether personal, economic, or business.
  • To obtain, employing fraudulent computer actions, patents, or competitors’ products to sell them, bringing a financial reward.

Identity theft on social networks

Identity theft on the Internet is one of the main problems faced by users of social networks such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or messaging platforms such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Outlook. Impersonating another person on social networks allows hackers or people with malicious intentions to commit fraud, scams, or cyberbullying, among others, in the name of another person.

One of the forms of impersonation on the network that our criminal lawyers in Barcelona have seen the most in recent years is creating a false profile on a social network to impersonate the identity of a different person. But is this a crime in the penal code?

Is impersonation on social networks a crime?

Creating a false profile and impersonating another person on social networks can be a crime if it includes personal information about the victim, such as a photograph. In this case, we would face the crime of violating the right to self-image.

Fictitious impersonation

This crime can only be considered as such when the usurpation corresponds to a real person; therefore, if the identity of a fictitious or invented person is impersonated, there would be no crime.

Penalties for the crime of usurpation of identity

Our experienced identity theft attorneys will offer you the seriousness and professionalism that your case needs.

The primary type of this crime, the usurpation of another person’s identity to obtain benefits, is punished with a prison sentence of six months to three years.

However, when this usurpation is carried out to execute other crimes, such as scams and computer terrorism, the penalties for these crimes will also be attributed. Evidently, the usurpation is carried out to commit the crime under another person’s identity, thus trying to evade criminal liability.

Differences between identity theft and impersonation

Encroachment and impersonation are very similar conducts, but with some nuances that differentiate them.

In both crimes, the identity of the other person is impersonated. However, in identity theft, there is an illegitimate appropriation of the rights of the other person, and in usurpation, the victim’s data are also used to obtain some benefit. The main difference lies in the use of the data of the passive subject for lucrative purposes for the impersonator.

Our criminal lawyers experts in identity theft crimes, will advise you on the steps and procedures to be carried out at all times.