Arizona Identity Theft Laws

Arizona has strict laws when it comes to identity theft. Taking the identity of another person is considered a class 4 felony, and is punishable by prison time and fines. The minimum time spent in prison is one year, with a maximum of three years and eight months. The perpetrator will have to pay back any losses caused to the person whose identity they stole.

Arizona Laws

Taking Identity of Another Person - AR § 13-2008

Using any personal information from another person is a Class 4 felony in the state of Arizona. This includes recording, manufacturing, purchasing, or possessing identity records and information details. Any intent to use that person’s identity for unlawful purposes, cause a loss to that person, or gain employment under their name is punishable. This does not apply to people under the age of 21 who were attempting to use the ID for the purchase of alcohol or tobacco. That falls under a different section.

Retention of Customer Information - 44-7701

Retaining customer information is only allowed if a business is using it to verify age or establish identity. This often occurs at a department of transportation, any place that checks credit worthiness, to verify a check, or when fraud is detected. No retailer can keep customer information or offer it to third parties. Each violation of this offense is subject to a fine. The first violation is $500 dollars, the second is $1000, and a third or further attempt could mean $5000 for each count.

Notification of a Security Breach - 44-7501

Any business that becomes aware of a security breach must inform their customers of the event. Any unauthorized access to the personal data kept within the computer system is included. There must also be a proper investigation launched to determine how extensive the breach was. Written notice is the preferred method to disclose this information, unless the customer has previously requested electronic communications regarding their account. Telephone notice is also permitted. Notice must be given promptly, unless it interferes with a criminal investigation.

Petition for Factual Innocence - 13-4440

Victims of identity theft have a right to hearing that will declare their factual innocence. This is to prove that the theft is the reason for the debts owed and crimes committed, and was not under the fault of the person whose identity was stolen. Written notice must be provided of the date and time of the hearing so the victim has proper notice to be present. A court order detailing the verdict must be provided within 15 days.

Security Freeze - 44-1698

Consumers have the right to request a security freeze on their credit reports and scores. The request must be done in writing. With the freeze in place, the reporting agency is not allowed to disclose credit scores or reports to any third parties. The freeze must be put in effect within 10 business days. A written response regarding the freeze will also be provided to the consumer. It remains until the consumer chooses to unfreeze it. The freeze can be lifted within 15 minutes of a phone call or Internet notification, and three days after receiving the request in the mail. Each reporting agency typically charges $5 to put this security protocol in place.

Extension of Credit - 44-1698.01

A credit lender must not offer an extension of credit without first completing the proper steps to verify identity. A consumer credit report must be used to help determine if the identity is in fact accurate before any money can be loaned. When there is a security freeze in place, a police report made, or a fraud alert notification, the extension must be denied. Allowing an extension of credit during these times is a direct violation of this statute. An increase on an already open account does not count under this law. It refers only to new lines and inquiries.

Famous Cases

A couple of large identity theft cases have come from Arizona.

Chiropractor From Utah Spends Time in Arizona Prison

Randal Pruitt, hailing from Utah, spent his days as a chiropractor. He worked for a time at the Arizona Back Institute. While there, Pruitt stole the identities of at least 50 patients. Some he double billed, while others he took out lines of credit in their names. Pruitt was charged with wire fraud and had to pay restitution in the amount of $480,000.

State Employee Must Pay Over $5 Million

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System lost over $5 million when a high-ranking employee, Michael Veit, conducted an identity theft scheme. He took the state funds and deposited them into a private bank account. Intended charges included money laundering, identity theft, and trafficking in stolen property. There were multiple counts included. After a plea deal was set in place, Veit only had to accept one charge of theft and another of fraudulent schemes. These are both considered class 2 felonies in the state of Arizona. Veit also had to give up his state retirement benefits plan, and owes $5.9 million back to the state.

An accomplice, Michael Cameron, was also in on the scheme. He too was charged with theft and fraudulent schemes. Seventeen cars were seized between the two of them, along with five properties. The scheme had been going on for a decade.

Resources

Helpful resources can be found in the state of Arizona to assist identity theft victims.

Azag.gov: The attorney general’s website provides details regarding identity theft and the laws in place.

Consumer.ftc.gov: Consumers can use the Federal Trade Commission to find the appropriate forms to send in to reporting agencies and lendors when a theft has taken place.

Azcourts.gov: The Arizona Judicial Branch provides important resources for victims of identity theft. Consumers can find details on the self help section of the website.

Ssa.gov: The Social Security Administration discusses the steps to take if a social security number is compromised. They also detail important tips for keeping this number safe from others.