Albany – In a year that saw some of the nation’s worst data breaches at major companies such as Home Depot and J.P. Morgan Chase, the number of adults arrested in the eight-county Capital Region on identity theft charges in 2014 rose to its highest level in six years. Last year, there were 69 adult identity theft arrests in the region, up 40.8 percent from 2013, according to a Tully Rinckey PLLC analysis of New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services data obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request.
Capital Region ID Theft Adult Arrests
Top Arrest Charge
2013-2014 % Change
Data from NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services. "Identity ID Theft” includes 1st, 2nd and 3rd degree identity theft and aggravated identity theft (Penal Law § 190.78-190.80-A). Chart prepared by Tully Rinckey PLLC.
“Identity theft is happening in our backyard, and the perpetrators of it are not just hackers in Nigeria or Russia. They can work at a business you frequent, live next to you, or even be in your family. Everyone needs to vigilantly guard their personal identification information,” said Tully Rinckey PLLC Associate Lincy M. Jacob, who practices criminal defense.
Identity theft generally involves the obtainment of goods, money, property, or credit under someone else’s name, or causing financial loss to someone else by assuming the identity of another person “by presenting himself or herself as that other person, or by acting as that other person or by using personal identifying information of that other person.” Below is a general description of identity theft offenses:
- 3rd Degree Identity Theft (PL § 190.78): Offenses involving less than $500 (class A misdemeanor)
- 2nd Degree Identity Theft (PL § 190.79): Offenses involving more than $500 (class E felony)
- 1st Degree Identity Theft (PL § 190.80): Offenses involving more than $2,000 (class D felony)
- Aggravated Identity Theft (PL § 190.80-A): Offenses involving the identity theft of members of the armed forces deployed outside the continental United States and more than $500 (class D felony).
New York’s identity theft laws date back to 2002, when lawmakers created the crimes of identity theft in three degrees of identity theft (Penal Law § 190.78-190-80) and unlawful possession of personal identification information in three degrees (Penal Law § 190.81-190.83). In 2008, lawmakers created the offense of aggravated identity theft (Penal Law § 190.80-A). Note: Arrests for unlawful possession of personal identification information offenses are not included in the identity theft arrest totals.
Between 2006 and 2013, data breaches exposed 22.8 million of New Yorkers’ personal records. In 2013 the costs of breaches on entities conducting business in the state reached $1.37 billion, according to a report by New York Attorney General Eric Scheiderman. A recent surveyof New Yorkers by Experian found almost half of respondents claimed they or someone they knew were a victim of identity theft.