Wyoming has a number of laws in place pertaining to the use of personal information, false identities, and impersonation. The crimes are prohibited in the state, and will be punished in a court of law. Using anyone else’s information as one’s own earns a perpetrator a jail or prison sentence, depending on the circumstances. Simply obtaining the information is a much lesser charge than using it to achieve a gain, monetary or otherwise.
- 1 Wyoming Laws
- 2 Famous Cases
- 3 Resources
The unauthorized use of personal information is considered a misdemeanor crime in the state of Wyoming. This includes email addresses, home addresses, telephone numbers, biometric data, government-issued identification cards, and any other information that could be used to identify someone.
An amount taken while using someone’s information that surpasses $1,000 excels the charge to a felony. A maximum of ten years may be spent behind bars for a felony conviction. Fines may also be applied.
Use of False Identity - 6-3-615
Using falsified documents in an attempt to conceal identity is also punishable under Wyoming law. This is a misdemeanor offense, which often results in less than one year in jail. Fines reaching $1,000 may also have to be paid. Obtaining resources or public services by falsifying documents or assuming a false identity is also considered under this law.
Impersonating another person online is prohibited in the state of Wyoming. This crime includes using a fake website or setting up a false account, whether through email or on social media. Spoofing is also considered under this statute. This refers to changing the name or telephone number that appears on a caller ID for a telephone service.
A civil suit may be brought against the perpetrator if the victim wishes to file charges. They may have to pay for court costs and damages that occurred due to the crime. The act also earns the offender a charge from the state prosecutor. Committing this crime equates to a sentence of one year in jail and $1,000 in fines. It is a misdemeanor charge.
Impersonation of a Peace Officer - 6-3-606
Falsely representing oneself as a peace officer is against Wyoming law. Getting anyone to believe they are a peace officer, or performing duties of an officer, are both punishable as a Class A misdemeanor. A year in a county jail is the typical punishment. A first offense may simply result in a hefty fine.
Security Freeze - 40-12-503
Any Wyoming consumer may place a security freeze on their consumer report. Certified mail is required for filing the request. It is necessary to include personal information in the written request in order for the reporting agency to determine the true individual to whom the report belongs is placing the freeze.
The request will be honored within five days of receipt. Confirmation will be sent to the consumer within an additional ten days. A special password will be issued so that the consumer may make future changes to the account without hesitation. This includes placing a temporary lift on the freeze so a specific creditor may get through to the records within.
While written request works best, there is also the option to place a freeze request by electronic communication. Consumers will have to look up each reporting agency in order to determine where the electronic communication should be sent. Some agencies may allow consumers to fax in the information instead.
Wyoming has suffered numerous cases of identity theft at the hands of its own residents.
Volunteer Treasurer Commits Fraud
A woman who volunteered as the treasurer for the Little Big Horn Chapter of Trout Unlimited forged a number of signatures of the officers in order to cash checks. Alecia Rae Bolton also wrote checks from the chapter’s checking account in order to pay for her own expenses. She managed to steal over $20,000 from them.
Bolton also stole from her work. She was an employee at the Cedars Health Clinic. She worked as the accounts receivable manager and in the office. She not only stole from her job, but from the patients. She deposited their checks into her own personal accounts, rather than the clinic’s. Bolton also wrote fraudulent checks using the bank account of the clinic. She signed another employee’s name instead of her own. Nearly $63,000 was stolen in total.
Various counts of aggravated identity theft and bank fraud were charged to Bolton. She must now pay back $86,000 in restitution. Her sentence was for 51 months in prison, which equates to four years and three months.
The state of Wyoming recommends a number of beneficial resources that provide information on identity theft in the state.
Dot.state.wy.us: The Wyoming Department of Transportation discusses identity theft in relation to driver’s licenses and records. A number of steps for victims of theft to take are included on their website. Out of state drivers who are making their way through Wyoming at the time of the theft can also receive helpful information from this site.
Legalhelpwy.org: Equal Justice Wyoming is dedicated to provide equal justice to every citizen in the state of Wisconsin. Resources and information on all laws in the state, including identity theft, are included.
Ag.wyo.gov: The Wyoming Attorney General offers a consumer protection unit that works to ensure all consumers in the state have the protection they need from risks and scams. The unit is responsible for discussing identity theft and how to handle the situation should it ever arise.
Commercebankwyoming.com: The Commerce Bank of Wyoming discusses identity theft protection for all bank acccount holders. A link to information regarding free credit reports is available on their website. They also provide consumer protection and education in order to best help account holders avoid being hurt by the crime.
Wyomilitary.wyo.gov: Military OneSource offers a financial resources section that discusses seeking the help of a military financial counselor. Wyoming National Guard members are able to utilize this option, and receive help with credit management and security clearance concerns for their information.