Arkansas Identity Theft Laws

Arkansas state laws are in place to protect victims of identity theft. There are two types of circumstances that are included, including financial and non-financial identity fraud. It is also a higher class felony for committing these crimes against an elderly or disabled member of the state.

Arkansas Laws

Financial Identity Fraud - 5-37-227(a)

Opening an account, obtaining a credit card, or otherwise using money that is intended for another person is considered financial identity fraud. It is unlawful to use someone else’s identity and personal information to open account lines and gain access to their financial information. It is a Class C felony offense punishable by three years in prison, with a maximum sentence of ten years. A $10,000 fine is also applicable.

Non-Financial Identity Fraud - 5-37-227(b)

Using another person’s identity for something other than financial gain falls under the non-financial identity fraud statute. The felony is considered a Class D. Up to $10,000 in fines are associated, along with a maximum of six years in prison. Whether the perpetrator is attempting to flee the law, cause harassment, or gain access to material possessions, they are charged under the statute of non-financial identity fraud.

Fraud Against an Elderly Person - 5-37-227

When the fraud is against an elderly person, or someone who is disabled, the felony increases to a class B. It increases prison time to a minimum of five years and maximum of twenty. There is also a $15,000 fine associated with it. This is for financial identity fraud. Non-financial fraud against the elderly or disabled is a Class C offense.

Security Freeze - §4-112-101

In Arizona, any consumer is allowed to place a security freeze on their credit report. Loans, lines of credit, mortgages, employment applications, cell phones, and even utility bill accounts may not be able to go through during this time. It should only be put in place if identity theft is suspected so the thief is not able to apply for any lines of credit under the stolen name.

A personal identification number is administered when a freeze is in place. This number, along with identity verification documents, are required in order to unfreeze the account. It is typically advised to request and cancel a freeze by mail, although it can be done electronically or by telephone if desired.

Identity Theft Passport - §5-37-228

Victims of identity theft have the right to obtain a passport that verifies their status. This passport resembles a driver’s license, and should be kept on the victim at all times. It is a way for victims to prove their innocence and show their status to officials who may be unsure of their identity. It also works at stores when using a credit card when there is a police report in place. The passport proves the person is the true owner so he or she is free to use their accounts as needed.

Security Breach - §4-110-101

Businesses and agencies must provide notice to consumers when there has been a security breach of data systems. When unauthorized access is granted to personal data on a business computer, the people to whom that data belongs need to be notified. Written notice is all that is needed, but consumers can be reached on the phone as well if that contact information is available. Notice is not required if there is an ongoing investigation.

Famous Cases

A couple of cases involving identity theft have occurred in the state of Arkansas.

Woman Serving Four Years for Identity Theft

A woman by the name of Latori Sanders, from Little Rock, Arkansas, was sentenced to serve four years in prison. Sanders was charged not only with identity theft, but also bank fraud and credit card fraud. She used the social security numbers of several victims to open credit card accounts and apply for utility services. Sanders also stole checks equaling almost $4000 from neighbors. Another $5000 worth of purchases had been made a year prior from a different neighbor’s checking account. Sanders owed fines to the Clark County District Court, which she paid by stealing yet another person’s identity and opening a credit card in their name.

Traffic Stop Catches Identity Thief

William Hall was stopped due to a traffic violation. The officer who stopped him found checkbooks, social security numbers, and credit cards in the names of dozens of other people. Some of the names were of people who were already deceased. A ledger was also kept that detailed the information of numerous stolen accounts, including bank statements. Hall would search for records of the deceased and use their information to open accounts.

Felony charges were brought against Hall. They included identity fraud, tampering with physical evidence, and violation of parole. Hall had possession of a controlled substance on him during the traffic stop, which is why the vehicle was searched to begin with. He also had a counterfeit license.

Resources

Numerous resources are available to Arkansas residents who are worried about identity theft.

Arkansasag.gov: The Arkansas Attorney General discusses state laws for identity theft. There are also tips and advice available that help avoid scams and schemes.

Careconnectusa.org: CareConnectUSA provides information regarding financial assistance to families.

Transunion.com: TransUnion is one of the top three credit reporting agencies. They offer a Fraud Victim Assistance Division that can assist with identity theft claims.

Arlegalservices.org: Victims may need to obtain legal service. The Center for Arkansas Legal Services allows consumers to apply online for assistance.

Dis.arkansas.gov: The Department of Information Systems is a great resource for finding out information regarding identity fraud.

Identitytheft.gov: The Federal Trade Commission offers a full identity theft website used for reporting theft and finding recovery plans. They also have a complete list of steps to take in the event that personal records and identification are stolen.

Consumer.ftc.gov: Consumers can visist the Federal Trade Commision’s own website to learn more information about identity fraud. It is a national site that can be utilized by all states. Different details are available depending on the type of theft.