Identity Theft & The Law

Our law enforcement community in Colorado plays a vital role in preventing identity theft (through education and outreach efforts) and in assisting victims of identity theft (taking timely police reports and investigating of these crimes).

Colorado law enforcement agencies can greatly assist victims of identity theft by taking police reports of all allegations of identity theft. Even where there is some question whether the theft of a person’s identity occurred in a particular jurisdiction, a police report of such a theft empowers the victim in dealing with their banks and creditors. More importantly, under Colorado law, a victim can stop the reporting of negative credit information caused by the identity theft by filing the police report with the credit reporting bureaus. Do not refuse a victim a police report even if you have no ability to investigate the crime further.

There are resources available at the national level to assist local law enforcement in combating identity theft. One of the most significant sources of investigative information is contained in the Consumer Sentinel ID Theft Data Clearinghouse. Containing nearly 300,000 identity theft complaints, the ID Theft Data Clearinghouse can be an invaluable tool for detecting patterns of illegal activity. The ID Theft Data Clearinghouse is available through the Consumer Sentinel system, a joint partnership between the Federal Trade Commission, the National Association of Attorneys General, Canada’s Phonebusters, the United States Postal Inspection Service, many local Better Business Bureaus and the National Fraud Information Center. Membership is free and is available to any federal, state or local law enforcement agency. More information is available at www.ftc.gov/sentinel. Information on the ID Theft Data Clearinghouse can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/.

There are also a growing number of training courses offered for police officers and prosecutors who want to learn more about investigating and prosecuting identity thieves.

The National White Collar Crime Center (“NW3C”) is a non-profit organization funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance. NW3C provides support to local and state enforcement agencies involved in the prevention, investigation and prosecution of economic and high-tech crime. NW3C training incorporates the best current practices of experts in the field of financial investigations and computer forensic investigations courses. The NW3C offers several CDs for law enforcement, including: “Introduction to Internet Investigations,” “Computer Crimes on Your Doorstep” and “Prosecuting Cases That Involve Computers: Basic Information and Important Issues.” For more information, see http://www.nw3c.org/ocr/courses_desc.cfm.

For prosecuting attorneys, the American Prosecutors Research Institute - the research, training and technical assistance affiliate of the National District Attorneys Association - offers a course titled “Learn to Handle Identity Theft Cases.”

Many law enforcement agencies want to know what they can do to help victims of identity theft. Some of the most frequently asked questions include:

Can my agency take reports of identity theft?

Not only can your agency take police reports of identity theft, but it should always take such reports. Colorado law anticipates that law enforcement agencies will take reports of identity theft from those who reside within their respective jurisdictions (C.R.S. §12-14.3-106.5). A timely police report will greatly assist victims in dealing with their creditors and in cleaning up fraudulent information on their credit reports.  

My agency is swamped handling violent crime. Shouldn’t identity theft be handled as a civil matter?

No! Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the nation and usually involves numerous felonies. It causes long-term damage to its victims. Imagine not being able to obtain a car loan or refinance your home simply because someone has stolen your identity and ruined your credit rating.

Where can I direct victims for more information on identity theft?

The information on this web site has been designed to provide victims with step-by-step guidance on dealing with identity theft.  For more information please see our Victim Resource section.

What laws apply to identity theft?

The Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) are available on-line.  Below are the citations for identity theft statutes in Colorado.  Click on “Colorado Statutes” on the left side of this page to access the C.R.S.

Colorado Laws -- Criminal

  • Forgery, § 18-5-102
  • Possession of forgery devices, § 18-5-109
  • Theft, § 18-4-401
  • Theft of trade secrets, § 18-4-408
  • Theft of medical records or medical information, § 18-4-412
  • Definitions relating to forgery, § 18-5-101
  • Forgery, § 18-5-102
  • Second degree forgery, § 18-5-104
  • Use of a forged academic record, § 18-5-104.5
  • Criminal possession of a forged instrument, § 18-5-105
  • Criminal possession of second degree forged instrument, § 18-5-107
  • Criminal possession of forgery devices, § 18-5-109
  • Trademark counterfeiting, § 18-5-110.5
  • Obtaining signature by deception, § 18-5-112
  • Criminal impersonation, § 18-5-113
  • Offering a false instrument for recording, § 18-5-114
  • Fraud by check, § 18-5-205
  • Defrauding a secured creditor or debtor, § 18-5-206
  • Issuing a false financial statement, § 18-5-209
  • Definitions relating to financial transaction devices, § 18-5-701
  • Unauthorized use of a financial transaction device, § 18-5-702
  • Criminal possession of a financial transaction device, § 18-5-703
  • Sale or possession for sale of a financial transaction device, § 18-5-704
  • Criminal possession or sale of a blank financial transaction device,
    § 18-5-705
  • Criminal possession of forgery devices, § 18-5-706
  • Unlawful manufacture of a financial transaction device, § 18-5-707
  • Definitions relating to computer crime, § 18-5.5-101
  • Computer crime, § 18-5.5-102
  • False reporting to authorities, § 18-8-111
  • Telecommunications crime, § 18-9-309
  • Definitions relating to pawn shop records, § 18-16-102
  • Purchaser to identify seller, § 18-16-103
  • Purchaser to maintain register and obtain declaration of seller's ownership, § 18-16-105
  • Penalty for failure to identity or maintain records, § 18-16-108
  • Unlawful possession or use of drivers license, § 42-2-136
  • Unlawful acts involving identification cards, § 42-2-309

Colorado Laws -- Civil

  • Restrictions on credit card receipts, § 6-1-711
  • Colorado Consumer Credit Reporting Act, § 12-14.3-101, including
    § 12-14.3.106.5 (credit report block)
  • Colorado Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, § 12-14-101 to -137
  • Colorado Uniform Consumer Credit Code, § 5-1-101

Federal Laws -- Criminal

  • Identification fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(1)-(6)
  • Identity theft, 18 U.S.C. § 1028(a)(7)
  • Credit card fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1029
  • Computer fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1030
  • Mail fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1341
  • Wire fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1343
  • Financial institution fraud, 18 U.S.C. § 1344
  • Mail theft, 18 U.S.C. § 1708
  • Immigration document fraud, 18 U.S.C. 1546

Federal Laws -- Civil

  • Fair Credit Reporting Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1681
  • Truth in Lending Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1601
  • Fair Credit Billing Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1666
  • Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1692
  • Electronic Funds Transfer Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1693

 

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