Virginia state laws allows for identity theft to either be classified as a misdemeanor or felony. The charge is dependent on each situation, particularly regarding the amount of loss done to the victim. In either instance, time will be spent in a correctional facility, whether a state penitentiary or a county jail. Fines are also applied in each case.
Identity Theft - 18.2-186.3
It is unlawful in the state of Virginia to claim another person’s identity as one’s own. Using the information in any way, particularly to obtain money or credit is prohibited under the law. Impersonating an officer in an attempt to get this information is a particularly criminal offense, and will result in jail time. The offenses are either misdemeanor or felony, depending on the amount of money stolen using the identifying information.
A financial loss to the victim in the amount of $200 earns the perpetrator a felony in the Class 6 level. When more than five identification cards are taken in the names of separate people, the charge is awarded at a Class 5 level. A Class 4 felony is given to anyone that has possession of more than 50 identification documents and pieces of information.
Restitution will be paid to all victims. This punishment is on top of the jail or prison time the offender will be serving, as well as other fines the court chooses to impose. Two years in prison is the minimum sentence for a Class 4 felony, while ten years is the maximum. A Class 5 felony earns at least a minimum of a year in prison. A Class 6 also has a minimum prison term of one year, with five years as the maximum. All instances are charged with thousands of dollars of fines.
Intent to Intimidate Using a Person’s Identity - 18.2-186.4
Having an intent to cause intimidation or harassment by using another person’s identity against them is considered a misdemeanor crime in Virginia. This includes publishing the person’s identity online, such as a photograph, address, telephone number, full name, or other important data like their financial records. This crime earns the offender a Class 1 misdemeanor charge. This equates to six months of jail time, with a maximum of one full year. Fines may be set anywhere between $1,000 and $2,500, depending on the court’s discretion.
The crime excels to a Class 6 felony if the information being posted belongs to a public officer. This includes a police officer, judge, sheriff, warden, or any member of law enforcement or office. Twelve months in prison are earned in this instance, with fines up to $2,500.
Restricted Use of Social Security Numbers - 59.1-443.2
Intentionally sharing another person’s social security number is against the Virginia code of law. This includes printing the number and displaying it where others can see. This law applies to businesses as well who have access to their employees information. No personal data of this nature should be shared.
It is also unlawful to require Internet users to sign in using their social security number. A typical username and password should be all that is required. Businesses that need to include a social security number in an important letter must do so only if the letter is sealed. It cannot be placed on a postcard or anywhere visible. The number should still then only include the last four or five digits, and not the entire thing.
Credit Card Fraud - 18.2-195
Virginia law classifies credit card fraud as any attempt to use another person’s credit card. This includes both a stolen card and one that was lost and picked up by another person. A revoked or expired card may also not be used. Obtaining credit, cash, services, or goods while using a card of this nature will result in a fraud charge. Pretending to be the cardholder when it does not in fact belong to that person is a serious case of fraud that results in a felony charge. It is a crime at the Class 6 level as long as the value of the amount of money or goods taken exceeded $200. Less than $200 results in a misdemeanor charge. The felony charge could earn the offender a five year maximum prison sentence. At least one year minimum will be awarded.
Anyone that does not steal a card themselves, but conspires with the person who did, is also guilty of the same felony offense. They too will earn a Class 6 felony charge. They may receive a slightly lesser sentence than the main culprit, but they are still considered a co-conspirator and will receive a minimum of one year in prison.
Virginia offers an array of resources that are beneficial to victims of identity theft and those looking to prevent identity theft from happening to them and their family members.
Oag.state.va.us: The Attorney General of Virginia discusses the statistics of identity theft in the area, and provides a list of steps to take when the crime occurs. A number of helpful resources are included on their website, including links to the credit reporting agencies.
Ic3.gov: The Internet Crime Complaint Center offers an online complaint form that victims can use to report identity theft in their area. Specific details about how the complainant was victimized are needed in order for the report to go through.
Tax.virginia.gov: The Virginia Department of Taxation commits itself to protecting the taxpayers of the state. This includes providing relevant information to cases of identity theft and how the situation can be avoided.
Vnb.com: The Virginia National Bank is one of the more popular banking options in the state. Their website includes details for what to do if a card is ever lost or stolen. They offer a business hour telephone number that customers can use to report their card stolen, as well as an after hours number for convenience.
Vacode.org: The Virginia code of law is available online for any resident within the state to read. It ensures people understand the laws they must abide by, and provides a list of restrictions that help victims know how they have been violated.