Identity theft laws and penalties in Colorado

Identity theft laws and penalties in Colorado

With the advent of technology ruling our lives like never before, the rise of identity theft crimes has significantly impacted our society. Identity theft can take on many forms, each with its set of circumstances and resulting penalties.

Identity theft. If a person knowingly uses another person’s personal identifying information without consent or legal authority, then the crime of identity theft occurs when that person tries to obtain goods, services or anything else of value. It also extends to applying for credit, getting a government issued document, or changing or altering a document in someone else’s name. Committing identity theft in Colorado is a Class 4 felony.

Criminal impersonation. Impersonating someone else or using a false identity becomes a criminal offense if that act is used to gain some benefit or to defraud another person. Criminal impersonation includes marrying someone else, performing an action that might allow someone else to become criminally or civilly liable, or affixing their impersonated identity to a legal document such as a contract with the intent that it be taken as true. Committing criminal impersonation is a Class 6 felony.

Criminal possession of a financial device. If you possess any financial instrument such as a credit or debit card, charge card or the numbers from a bank account, knowing it is lost or stolen, then you are guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If you possess multiple financial devices from multiple people, you can be convicted of either a Class 5 or a Class 6 felony.

Gathering identity information by deception. If you make false statements to obtain personal information, then you are committing gathering identity information by deception and can be charged with a Class 5 felony in Colorado.

Fines for these crimes can include paying restitution and paying fines up to $500,000 in some cases. You can also be looking at up to 12 years in prison for more serious offenses.

Decker & Jones serves clients in Denver, Golden and communities throughout Jefferson County, Colorado.