The Financial Crimes Task Force of Southwestern Pennsylvania
A Decade of Financial Crimes Investigations, 1995 - 2005

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Financial Crimes
Task Force of
Southwestern Pennsylvania
5315 Campbells Run Road, Ste. 300, Pittsburgh, PA 15277-9000

FAX: (412) 490-6565

MEDIA INQUIRIES:
412-281-7825

TOLL FREE NUMBER:
1 877 US MAIL 5
1-877-876-2455

Deter-Detect-Defend, Avoid ID Theft, www.ftc.gov/idtheft

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Allegheny County District Attorney's Office •  Federal Bureau of Investigation •  Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office •  Pittsburgh Police •  Pennsylvania Department of Revenue •  United States Postal Inspection Service •  United States Secret Service •  United States Department of Justice

State and Federal Laws

UNITED STATES CODE & FEDERAL ACTS

NEW Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act
The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act amends title 18 of the United States Code to establish penalties for aggrevated identity theft.

The Act adds to section 1028 the following language: "whoever, during and in relation to any violation enumerated in subsection (c), knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such felony, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years.

The Act also includes the following language pertaining to terrorism offenses: "whoever, during and in relation to any felony violation enumerated in section 2332b(g)(5)(B), knowingly transfers possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such felony, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 5 years.

TOPFair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003

The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act is actually an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and provides several new measures to protect consumers from identity theft.

The act calls for mandatory credit card account number truncation on electronic receipts, the establishment of a national fraud alert system, identity theft account blocking by credit reporting agencies when a police report is filed, and the development of guidelines to assist financial institutions and creditors to spot "red flag" indicators in credit applications and other financial transactions that may suggest identity theft. In addition, the act gives consumers the right to obtain records from businesses where identity thieves used their names and gives consumers the right to block fraudulent information from appearing on their credit reports.

Most importantly, the Act allows consumers access to free consumer credit reports from each of the three national bureaus on an annual basis and gives consumers the ability to make one call to obtain fraud alerts on all three credit reports. Reports may be obtained by visiting www.annualcreditreport.com.

Click HERE to read the full House bill (HR 2622).

TOPIdentity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998

The Act makes it a federal crime when someone "knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law."

The Act considers a name, social security number, a credit card, cellular telephone, electronic serial number or any other piece of information that may be used alone or in conjunction with other information as a "means of identification."

TOPFair Credit Billing Act

The Act establishes procedures for resolving errors on credit card bills and statements with regard to your credit card accounts. These errors include fraudulent charges made by someone else on your accounts. The act also limits your liability for unauthorized credit card charges to $50 per card.

Click HERE to read the full House bill (HR 11221).

TOPFair Credit Reporting Act

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), is designed to promote accuracy and ensure the privacy of the information used in consumer reports. Recent amendments to the Act expand your rights and place additional requirements on credit reporting agencies. Businesses that supply information about you to credit reporting agencies and those that use consumer reports also have new responsibilities under the law.

Click HERE to read the full Act.

TOPFraud and related activity in connection with identification documents and information - Title 18 U.S.C. 1028

Fraud in connection with identification documents and information is committed when an individual:

  1. knowingly and without lawful authority produces an identification document or a false identification document;
  2. knowingly transfers an identification document or a false identification document knowing that such document was stolen or produced without lawful authority;
  3. knowingly possesses with intent to use unlawfully or transfer unlawfully five or more identification documents (other than those issued lawfully for the use of the possessor) or false identification documents;
  4. knowingly possesses an identification document (other than one issued lawfully for the use of the possessor) or a false identification document, with the intent such document be used to defraud the United States;
  5. knowingly produces, transfers, or possesses a document-making implement with the intent such document-making implement will be used in the production of a false identification document or another document-making implement which will be so used;
  6. knowingly possesses an identification document that is or appears to be an identification document of the United States which is stolen or produced without lawful authority knowing that such document was stolen or produced without such authority; or
  7. knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of Federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable State or local law;

TOPMail Fraud - Title 18 U.S.C. 1341

Mail fraud is committed when an individual uses the postal system in furtherance of a scheme to obtain money or property from someone else by offering a product, service, or investment opportunity that does not live up to its claims.

TOPFraud by Wire, Radio or Television - Title 18 U.S.C. 1343

Wire fraud is committed when an individual, having devised a scheme for the purpose of obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice.

TOPBank Fraud - Title 18 U.S.C. 1344

Bank fraud is committed when an individual knowingly executes, or attempts to execute a scheme or artifice to defraud a financial institution or to obtain any of the moneys, funds, credits, assets, securities or other property, owned by, or under the custody or control of, a financial institution, by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises.

PENNSYLVANIA LAWS

TOPIdentity Theft - Title 18 Pa C.S. 4120

In Pennsylvania, a person commits the offense of identity theft of another person if he or she possesses or uses, through any means, identifying information of another person without the consent of that other person to further any unlawful purpose.

Under the law, a police report taken by a local, county, or state law enforcement agency by a person stating that their identifying information had been used without their consent shall be considered evidence that the information was used or possessed without the person's consent.

For a list of additional state laws pertaining to identity theft, click HERE.

TOPAccess Device Fraud - Title 18 Pa C.S. 4106

In Pennsylvania, a person commits the offense of access device fraud if he or she uses an access device to obtain or in an attempt to obtain property or services with the knowledge that the access device is counterfeit, altered, incomplete, issued to another person who has not authorized its use, or has been revoked or cancelled.

The offense is also committed when a person possesses, publishes, makes, sells, gives, or otherwise transfers, offers, advertises, or aids and abets any other person to use an access device knowing that the access device is counterfeit, altered, incomplete, issued to another person who has not authorized its use, or has been revoked or cancelled.

Under the statute, an access device is defined as any card, including but not limited to a credit card, debit card, ATM card, or personal identification number or other means of account access that can be used alone or in conjunction with another access device to obtain money, goods, or services.

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2013 National Crime Victim's Rights Week

The 2013 National Crime Victims' Rights Week is April 21-27, 2013. Know your rights about available services if you are a financial fraud victim.