ID Theft: Classification and Punishment Varies from State to State

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Are state laws and penalties for identity theft different from the federal laws?

ID Theft: Classification and Punishment Varies from State to State

Thanks to the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, identity theft and fraud is recognized as a federal crime. Violations of the federal crime are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General.

Additionally, many states have laws recognizing identity theft as a crime, but the classification and associated punishment may differ from state to state. Below is the U.S. code sentencing classification.

Class A felony: life imprisonment, or if the maximum penalty is death

Class B felony: 25 years or more

Class C felony: less than 25 years but 10 or more years

Class D felony: less than 10 years but five or more years

Class E felony: l ess than five years but more than one year

Class A misdemeanor: one year or less but more than six months

Class B misdemeanor: six months or less but more than 30 days

Class C misdemeanor: thirty days or less but more than five days

Infraction: five days or less, or if no imprisonment is authorized

To find out what classification applies to convictions for identity theft in your state, contact your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agency.

For a list of state Attorney General offices, visit

For a brief overview of individual state statutes, visit:



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