Ramifications of a Criminal Defense Lawyer Not Understanding Immigration Law Consequences

San Francisco DUI lawyer
Kasie Lee speaks. Lawyers and clients listen!

As many of you know, I am involved in the Circle of Legal Trust over on Google Plus+1.  One real benefit is that when I want answers to questions on criminal law, or some other unique area of law from an expert, I find them at my fingertips.  Literally.  In particular, I met a really great content curator, Kasie Lee, who is based in San Francisco as a criminal defense lawyer.  She has vast years of legal experience, and was able to answer a pretty crucial question for me in a recent interview as follows:

I asked: Q: “what are the ramifications of not knowing immigration law for a criminal defense lawyer, from a malpractice perspective?”

A: Kasie Lee Says that Criminal Law Defense Lawyers MUST Act as Both an Immigration Lawyer and Defense Attorney When Representing Undocumented and Documented Immigrants

In a recent seminar she did, called:

“Criminal Defense Attorneys Must Dual as Immigration Attorneys By Kasie W Lee, Esq.”

Ms. Lee, a compassionate and thoughtful lawyer, discussed a landmark United States Supreme Court case, that changed the practice of criminal defense and immigration in recent years as follows:

Kasie says that permanent residents facing criminal charges as minor as DUI or petty theft must obviously consider the immigration consequences of a guilty plea. However, for years, there was no duty for a criminal defense attorney to do provide advice in this area. For example, in 1997, a defendant in Orange County, California pled guilty to the possession of various narcotics for the purpose of sales. (In re Resendiz, 25 Cal.4th 230 (2001).) He hired a private attorney solely for the purpose of protecting his status as a permanent resident. Prior to entering his plea, he was advised that accepting the plea bargain would be “no problem because he had been in the country for of 25 years.”

Providing Incorrect Legal Advice IS Ineffective Assistance of Counsel

This advice was absolutely incorrect, and the defendant was immediately subject to removal proceedings. On appeal, the California Court of Appeals held that affirmatively providing incorrect legal advice to a client regarding immigration consequences is ineffective assistance of counsel. The court further clarified, however, that a criminal defense attorney has no duty to advise on immigration consequences so long as he does not affirmatively give wrong advice.

Kentucky v. Padilla, 559 U.S. 356, decided on March 31, 2010, drastically changed the state of the law. There, a similar issue arose when a permanent resident of over 40 years was charged with selling marijuana. His attorney also told him “not to worry” about immigration consequences before he agreed to enter a guilty plea. Immediately after pleading guilty, he was subject to automatic removal from the country. In reviewing this case, the United States Supreme Court made the following findings: 1) where a certain immigration consequence is unambiguous, a criminal defense attorney must correctly advise his client of that consequence, and 2) where an immigration consequence is unclear, a criminal defense attorney must at least advise his client that deportation may result.

Criminal Defense Attorneys are Now “Duty Bound” To Research Immigration Consequences

The effect of this is that criminal defense attorneys now are duty-bound to research the immigration consequences of a guilty plea and properly advise their clients. Failure to do so is ineffective assistance of counsel and can result in a reversal of the conviction. Does this mean that if a person is in the middle of deportation proceedings for a conviction that he sustained prior to March 31, 2010 can obtain relief under Padilla?

No. In Chaidez v. United States, which was just decided on February 20 2013, a woman convicted of mail fraud filed an appeal based upon ineffective assistance of counsel. She alleged that her criminal defense attorney did not advise her that she would be subject to deportation. The US Supreme Court stated that the rule in Padilla does not apply retroactively and, in other words, has no bearing on cases already final on direct review prior to March 31, 2010. This update is brought to you by the Law Offices of Kasie W. Lee. For more legal updates, please visit www.kasiewlee.com or follow us at www.facebook.com/KasieLeeLaw. Ms Lee is a graduate of USC Law School and is an Avvo-rated Top-Defender in California with the highest possible rating. To contact her office, please call (415) 371-9786.

Fatalities on Job Sites

Construction jobs in many cities throughout California are at an all-time high for employment. There are many different individuals who have this type of job experience and job training that are taking advantage of the benefits available for themselves and their families by holding a construction job position.

The Construction Industry is Dangerous

Many people who have educated themselves and specialize in this type of trade realize that the construction industry can be a very dangerous position to hold and is a high risk job for injury accidents to happen. As a matter of fact, construction accidents are the third highest cause in deaths that occur due to injuries that are suffered in construction accidents.

Bodily Injury

When your construction job turns into a construction accident, this can affect not only you, but your entire family as well. You will want to contact Southern California Construction Accident Attorneys with knowledge and experience in bodily injury and wrongful death cases, whether your construction mishap happened in Los Angeles, Yorba Linda, Mission Viejo, Anaheim, Los Alamitos, or Marina del Rey. They have the know how to tackle any type of incdent aggressively and are familiar with the industries many regulations and controls.

Negligent Injuries

Whether your particular accident was caused from negligence from sub-contractors, job site owners, manufacturers, architects, employers or general contractors, professional California attorneys know how to get the highest amount possible for your construction incident claims. There are several different type of injuries that are common for happening in on-site construction accidents. Some of these include severe gashes, broken or fractured bones, chemical burns, contusions, concussions, skull fractures, loss of a limb, blindness, burns, herniated disc, and wrongful death.

Trade Risks

Each individual who works in the construction trade knows the risks involved each morning they wake up and head out the door to go to work. Every day they know they are facing another day filled with chances of an accident happening. Falls from heights can happen at any moment, injuries from operating heavy equipment, accidents involving scaffolding, crane accidents, nail gun accidents, acetylene torches, severe burns, some type of failure in safety equipment, electrocution, forklift accidents, poisoning, hazardous waste, welding accidents, objects falling, and failure to follow OSHA regulations. There is risk of any one of these happening when you enter the construction job-site.

Getting a Specialist Attorney

Professional construction accident attorneys with vast experience in this field can get you on the road to recovery both physically and monetarily.

Need a Princess Cruise Injury Firm?

There are many advantages of a Los Angeles Cruise ship accident lawyer when suing princess cruise lines. If you were injured on a Princess cruise ship, seek immediate legal advice from a competent firm. It’s the best way to determine what course to pursue and to protect your legal rights. Also, a good advocate may help you obtain compensation for your injury.

Information Gathering

Before retaining a cruise ship attorney, get together as much information as you can do regarding the injury on a cruise ship. Be ready to show your attorney bills, boarding passes, photographs and witness statements of the cruise ship accident location, some other evidence if you have, including special damage evidence like medical records regarding your injury, or receipts for charges you may already have paid in relation to your injury. Get your cruise ship contract, which may be on your ticket, you signed before boarding the ship. The passenger contract can help your cruise ship attorney determine where to bring suit, what your legal rights and obligations are, and whether it’s possible to file a lawsuit.

Is It A Waste of Time?

In some cases, filing a cruise ship accident lawsuit might be a waste of resources. If the injury was not a big injury, like a rape, or broken bone, it may be a good better to try and get free tickets, special discounts or a charge back credit. But you must first call a cruise ship lawyer to make sure your maritime and common law rights are protected.

Location Location Location

Location is everything in cruise ship law, so be sure to inform your cruise ship lawyers your state and city and where to to file your cruise ship claim. Princess cruise ship cases are normally filed in Los Angeles by a Los Angeles cruise ship attorney Most cruise ship claims under that line are filed in Los Angeles, California; but others like Carnival are filed in Miami, Florida; or even in Seattle, Washington. Time is short to file your cruise ship lawsuit so you need to get an excellent cruise ship expert attorney as soon as humanly possible. Attorneys know you are bound by your cruise ship ticket,or contract, will want to get the case right away to properly investigate and begin documentation of injuries like oral rape, anal rape, or vaginal rape of a child on a cruise lines. The injury can be much harder to prove otherwise.

When searching for a Los Angeles cruise ship lawyer, he needs the experience of having handled many cruise liner claims. You should not just retain any lawyer. Get a firm who is local to cities like Santa Monica, Long Beach and downtown LA,  where many cruise ship lawsuits are typically filed. Now that you known the advantages of Ehline Law Firm PC when suing princess cruise lines, you should also get a compassionate lawyer who cares about your unique situation, and about handling your Princess ship accident claims by getting you the monetary compensation you deserve.

Who To Trust With Children

By Ehline Law Firm PC – Everyday parents trust other people with their children; they trust them to care for them while they work, to transport them to school and home, for sporting activities and other various things that are a part of children becoming productive adults while parents are at work. But who can be trusted with our kids?

The Many Reported Cases of Abuse

While this all seems a part of normal life, however there many reported cases of child abuse every year at the hands of people who are entrusted to care for children while parents are not there to protect them.

In the past there have been many cases of child abuse that have come into the courts to prosecute a care giver who has not taken the best interest of the child into consideration but instead neglected their responsibility. Be it the caregiver who has mistreated the child in the home where parents have installed hidden cameras either out of fear or because their child has behaved differently.

The Types of Abusers

It could be the school bus driver who does not have the proper training and puts each child’s life on the bus endanger from the time they enter the bus and until they exit it each day. Even on the sports field children can be put in danger without a trained eye, even with a trained eye accidents can happen and if the person entrusted to supervise the sport is not trained in first aid it can lead to disaster.

These are all places that children are often put in danger where abuse or wrongful death can occur and it is not the fault of the parents as many children every day place their children in these situations and the children attend without incident.

When a situation does arise where there is abuse or a wrongful death the parents need the gentle advise and guidance that a skilled professional injury attorney can give them. While there is little that will make these parents lives normal or return to how life was it does often help to have closure when the abuse or wrongful death is admitted.

Contacting an Attorney

Should this happen to a family in the Los Angeles, Torrance, Marina del Rey or any other area of Orange County there are child injury attorneys who have the gentle words and the skill to put a case together that will hold the person responsible in a court of law, to give the family the closure that they deserve.

What To Do When Injured

Accident emergency scene

By Michael P. Ehline, Esq. – What everyone needs to know about personal injury accidents is a many faceted question. Many of the circumstances in your daily life in California cities like Los Angeles and Newport Beach may lead you to an unfortunate incident causing you injuries and suffering. Accidents such as car accidents, truck accident and motorcycle accidents are bound to occur every now and then. In fact, your may need a Los Angeles injury attorney or Orange County car accident lawyer sooner than you expected.

In fact, you could simply might be walking along the roadway, crosswalk, or even in a grocery store aisle and get injured by a moving object, or trip or slip upon a substance that was not supposed to be on the ground to begin with. If there had been proper care and maintenance the injury could have been avoided altogether.

Other Accident Scenarios

Other accident situations could involve a railroad accident, truck accident or other types of vehicular bus accident while riding as a passenger, driving to or from work or on the way to the swimming pool at the health club.

There are other accidents that could happen out the blue like a a dog bite or animal attack. You could also become the victim of defective product from a design defect, or manufacturing defect, etc.

In many of these accident scenarios there is a real possibility you could suffer a catastrophic personal injury. Since a California personal injury is often caused from an accident or unexpected happening, it is fundamental that someone was negligent in causing you the injuries to your person or property because they were irresponsible.

The special and general damages sustained by an individual who is the victim of a serious personal injury in Los Angeles could be psychological and not just physical. An individual could also suffer a head injury resulting in paraplegia, quadriplegia, or some injury like a disc burst fracture that could result in a mild traumatic brain injury or (MTBI), all just from one simple accident.

These personal injury damages need to be made into money damages, typically by highly trained and respected Los Angeles personal injury attorneys, assuming the accident occurred in LA. These damages are typically paid by a liability insurance company who insured the wrongdoer who injured you.

The help of an expert attorney with skill and expertise in personal injury cases is a necessity a personal injury victim in California in order to get the money damages owed to them by the person, individual or business who caused the injuries or wrongful death of you or your loved ones.

The Many Excellent Negligence Attorneys

In Los Angeles, and Orange County, California, there are a lot of excellent, aggressive personal injury lawyers with integrity who can help victims in the court proceedings and difficulties of a personal injury claim. Many of these Orange country and Los Angeles personal injury lawyers are hardworking accident lawyer pros who get compensation for the clients who have retained them either through settling or going to trial by a jury.

If you want to hire a competent lawyer, there are many ways to do so. But you should hire a lawyer with lots of experience in issues like yours. The lawyer you need should have high levels of legal expertise and be able to handle the personal injury from start to finish.

Get a Legal Specialist

Many Los Angeles personal injury counselors specialize only in car accident cases. Some other ones like to specialize in motorcycle accident or bicycle accident claims. Still others like to litigate elder abuse law, or workman’s comp law cases.

You can use powerful search engines like Yahoo! or Google.com. There are also many free lawyer directories. If you are old school, you can use the yellow pages or Penny saver ads. You can also go online to the the Los Angeles County Bar Association website to find attorneys. The problem is that unless you know someone who dealt with that firm, you won’t know until he or she is retained how they will do.

Getting a Referral

Learning from friends is a helpful way to choose a competent lawyer also. The best way is to look at the results, verdicts and settlements page of your lawyer. This is simply the quickest way to answer the question of what everyone needs to know about Los Angeles and Orange County personal injury accidents, which is how to find the right injury lawyer. It gives you a chance to observe the records and accomplishment and your attorney’s system of how he or she charges fees and what not.

Getting Help

If you were injured, you should take a look at the Ehline Law web site. Michael P. Ehline is a former U.S. Marine, aggressive and has a proven online track record of success in injury cases. His number is 888.400-9721

Amputations and Families

If you or a family member have been faced with the terrible tragedy of suffering the pain and emotional scarring that is involved with the loss of a limb due to amputation, then you know that suffering an amputation extends to your entire family.

Los Angeles area attorneys who specialize in this devastating type of injury will handle your amputation and bodily injury case with aggression, ensuring that you receive the highest amount for your settlement. The cost for an amputation injury can reach astronomical amounts very quickly, not only from hospital bills that accumulate from your hospital stay, physical rehabilitation, but the treatment and counseling that is generally needed for emotional and psychological care as well.

The Many Accidents Causing Amputations

There are numerous types of accidents that are common in occurring in the Los Angeles area which can result from individuals falling victim to an amputation accident.

Some of the common accidents which often result in amputation include automobile and truck collisions, boating accidents, train and metro link accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle accidents, and tour bus accidents. When an accident has occurred requiring the amputation of a limb, sometimes the bodily injuries that are suffered by the victim require the amputation.

Many different factors are taken into careful consideration by the professional hospital staff and specialized physicians that are caring for the patient, when they are faced with possibly having to remove a victims arm or a leg or other body part. Many times in these cases the physicians are also faced with the decision of having to perform an emergency surgery to amputate in order to save the victim’s life.

Some of the common reasons in Los Angeles that an amputation may have to take place are:

  • When a specific portion of a limb is damaged to the point that it is beyond being able to be repaired. Many times in this case, the damaged area would never be able to heal properly and could result in the victim suffering severe bleeding.
  • To stop the spreading of dangerous infections or diseases.
  • To stop a victim from bleeding to death.

In the event you are faced with an amputation injury or other bodily injuries, you need professional injury attorneys in California who have handled many amputation injury claims and are very familiar with the legalities involved in seeing that the negligent parties involved are held responsible.

Motorcycle Riding Dangers Are Many

By Ehline Law Firm PC – The freeways are more crowded than ever and freeway dangers in Dog Beach when riding a bike, that’s why there are motorcycle lawyers, because cars just don’t understand what it takes to be on the roads with a bike.

Its easy enough to be involved in an accident on the freeway and when your riding a bike it is all the more easy because drivers do not give the biker the same road courtesy and that is when things can go wrong real fast.

Your riding down the freeway and it’s a great day, warm and sunny and all of the sudden there it is the traffic slowing and that’s when you see it there must be an accident up a head. All the cars around you are slowing and in a situation like this it is dangerous for the biker, all it takes is one car to stop quickly or one car to pull in the lane with the bike.

As odd as it sounds there are many drivers on the freeway in Dog Beach that do not see the motorcycle when it is mixed in traffic and too sudden a stop or a car pulling in the same lane and even the car behind the motorcycle is putting this rider in danger. The slightest tap with a vehicle can severely injure a biker, the car that does not stop quickly enough and what would be a minor fender bender with another car is enough to be fatal to a motorcycle rider.

Los Angeles is Famous for Rider Injuries

This is why it is important to hire an experienced motorcycle attorney, one that understands what it is like to be on the freeway on two wheels and know first hand how cars do not afford the same curtseys to the motorcycle and this lawyer will know that and they know that the injuries sustained in a bike accident are always serious.

The kind of injuries that can be sustained when the bike and rider are involved in a motorcycle accident/ this is also freeway dangers when riding a bike, that’s why there are motorcycle lawyers, there are often broken bones, scrapes, cuts and most of all there is often head trauma.

Getting Legal Assistance

If you or someone you love has been in motorcycle accident then you need a professional motorcycle accident lawyer in Dog Beach to fight for the settlement that you deserve when a car does not give the biker the rights afforded to every type of transportation on the freeway. Orange County has some of the most skilled and professional motorcycle attorneys and they can be reached at 888-400-9721.

Train Accidents Can Happen Any Day Of The Week

By Ehline Law Firm PC – There are many people that ride the metrolink everyday and each year there are passengers that are injured, when they are they need to protection of an attorney in Orange County who will know what steps to take and protect their client from the attorneys who represent metrolink.

Train accidents can happen any day of the week and with them injuries to passengers, the poor unsuspecting person who is traveling to work or home who sits or even stands with nothing to protect them like the vehicle that is equipped with seat belts.

Train Accident Statistics Are Sobering

Statistics show that there are train accidents every year that injury and have caused wrongful death to train passengers in the past. These accidents have shown in the past how devastating they can be with the January 2005 accident that left eleven people dead when a man left his vehicle on the tracks in what was thought to be an attempted suicide near the Glendale, Los Angeles line. This had later been changed as new information came to light that it may not have been a suicide but rather an attempt to have the train collide with the vehicle.

The Train Man

The man, Juan Manuel Alvarez in the beginning was charged with 11 counts of murder with “special circumstances” and later there were additional charges filed for murder with intent. This accident was a tragic event leaving dead and injured passengers who had depended on the train to transport them to work or where they needed to go.This is proof that train accidents can happen any day of the week and at any time of the day as this deadly accident occurred at approximately 6:00 am.

When a passenger on the train is injured or the family of a wrongful death related to a passenger on the conveyance, they need an attorney who has experience, one that can put together a case using experts and whatever else is needed to present a case that will benefit their client in court in the Los Angeles and Orange County area.

Ehline law knows that train accidents can happen any day of the week and when it does injured passengers need representation to obtain the full amount they deserve for their medical bills and other expenses as well as pain and suffering. The Metrolink will have attorneys representing them and this is why it is important to have a personal injury attorney represent the injured. Call our lawyers now at 888-400-9721.

Phones Cause Serious Accidents

By Ehline Law Firm PC – Most Americans now believe that cell phone usage while driving can cause automobile accidents. In fact, a new law has just been recently passed banning the use of cell phones while driving because of the increase in accidents. But how many know that cell phones cause more injuries than just auto accidents?

It is rare to even find a person who does not own a cell phone in today¢s society. Laguna Beach residents can be seen walking and talking on their cell phones on the beach, all about town and in their cars. Even young children are given cell phones by their parents. Today it is much easier to keep tabs on our children when they have their own cell phone. They are only a phone call away. So it the risk of cell phone injuries.

Many different types of cell phone are still being recalled by manufactures for safety repairs to the equipment. Overheating of the battery can cause the phone to explode and catch fire instantaneously. Cell phone manufactures do not voluntarily assume liability for these defective batteries. There are many counterfeit batteries on the market and one must determine if that was in the phone or not in each case. There is much confusion over this issue. The counterfeit batteries are thought to be less likely to overheat than the one that came from the manufacturer.

Laguna Beach residents can contact a personal injury lawyer for information if they have had a cell phone explode or catch fire. A knowledgeable personal injury lawyer determines eligibility for compensation for injury incurred while using cell phone.

Injuries most commonly happen to the face, neck, hip and legs of the cell phone user

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is working to standardize cell phone batteries in an effort to prevent any further personal injuries while using a cell phone. They would also like to see a warning to the cell phone buyer to be wary of counterfeit cell phone batteries.

Some speculation is that the problem is not the battery at all but the cell phone design that may prevent sufficient ventilation to the battery. They speculate that this is what is causing the overheating. An overheated battery can reach up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit

Many victims of cell phone explosions report that their phone began making ticking or pinging noises just before it exploded and caught fire. If you ever notice your cell phone making strange noises, put it down and call a qualified repair technician. If you have already experienced an exploding cell phone and need legal representation for your injury claim, please call a Laguna Beach personal injury lawyer. Help with your cell phone injury claim is a phone call away. Call Los Angeles accident attorneys now.

ID Theft

Ehine discusses identity theft
Accident lawyer talks about stolen identity

By: Accident attorney Michael P. Ehline, Esq. After Google Places merged our business law firm listing with a competitor about 40 miles away, and refused to fix it, we started doing research on identity theft, and created this pretty comprehensive treatise.

Definition of Identity Theft: Identity theft occurs when another person assumes an individual’s personal identity. This is done in an effort to access financial resources of the individual, obtain credit and other benefits, using the person’s name. Identity theft makes a victim of the individual, who can suffer the adverse consequences of the thief using their credit, if they are held responsible for the financial costs. This type of theft is done by using the individual’s information, which can include their name, Social Security number, credit card or bank account number without permission and in order to commit crimes or fraud.

Understanding Just What Identity Theft Is

The term identity theft has been used since 1964, and while it is not possible to actually steal a person’s identity, rather they are impersonating or assuming their financial identity to commit fraud. Identity theft and data breaches can be difficult to recognize, since in most cases the individual does not know that anyone else has their personal or financial information. According to a report done by the Federal Trade Commission, when it is clear that there has been a breach, the person often does not know how their information was obtained by another person. They also found that identity fraud was not always a consequence of identity theft, since it is possible for an individual to steal or misappropriate personal information, without committing fraud.

Major Breach

This can occur when there is a major data breach. Most data breaches, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office study determined they did not resulted in detected occurrences of identity theft. The report did state that the full extent data breaches are unknown. An unpublished study by Carnegie Mellon University stated that most cases of identity theft is unknown, but the probability of becoming a victim of identity theft as a result of a data breach is approximately 2 percent. One of the largest data breaches consisted of approximately 4 million records and according to the association of consumer data companies; it resulted in approximately 1800 instances of identity theft.

In an article entitled “Cyber Crime Made Easy,” this discussed the level that hackers are using malicious software. Security specialist Gunter Ollmann said “Interested in credit card theft? There is an app for that.” What he was alluding to is the ease that hackers are accessing information online. One of the newer programs that are infecting computers is called Zeus, which is hacker friendly, making it easy to use even for a new hacker to operate. It might be easy to use, but it is devastating for the computer user it affects. The article said that programs like Zeus can be used to steal credit card information and important documents, even those necessary for homeland security use. Hackers gaining this information could not only use it for identity theft, but for possible terrorist attacks.

Types of Theft

The non-profit Identity Resource Center has divided identity theft into five categories.
Criminal Identity Theft: This is posing as another person for financial or personal gain, which is a crime.

  • Financial Identity Theft: This is the use of another person’s identity to obtain goods, services and credit.
  • Child Identity Theft: This is the use of a child’s information to obtain credit, services and goods or assume their identity.
  • Medical identity Theft: This is the use of another person’s identity in order to obtain medical care or drugs.
  • Identity Cloning Theft: This is the use of another person’s identity in order to assume their identity in life. It means using the person’s name in meeting people, employment and other activities.

Cases of identity theft can be used to fund other crimes, such as phishing, illegal immigration, terrorism and espionage. The use of identity cloning can be used in attacking payment systems, such as online credit card processing and medical insurance.

Criminal Identity Theft

This occurs when an identity thief impersonates another individual in order to conceal their real identity. People that do this could be a person hiding from creditors, other individuals, an illegal immigrant or a person that just wants to become anonymous for personal reasons. Another type of identity theft is known as a poser. The poser is a person that uses another individuals photos and information on social networking sites, they further relay creditable stories, which involve friends of a real person they are attempting to intimidate. One of the other things this type of thief does is to acquire false credentials that will pass authentication in daily life, and this can continue indefinitely, without detection.

Identity Cloning

This is an identity thief that who assumes another individuals name in order to conceal their real identity. This is their own form of witness protection program, and they may be hiding from creditors, an illegal immigrant, or just want to be anonymous for personal reasons, like to avoid being found by an ex-spouse or partner. This can continue for an indefinite amount of time, especially if the person is able to obtain false credentials in the assumed name that appear authentic. Another type of identity cloning is the person that is a “poser,” this is a person that assumes the identity of an individual on social networking websites, using photos, information and even creating stories that are believable including friends of the individual in an attempt to intimidate the person.

Synthetic Identity Theft

This is a type of identity theft that has become common, with the use of identities that are either partially or completely fictitious. Commonly the way this is done is by using a real social security number, with a birth date and name that is not attached to this number. The person, whose social security number is used, can have negative credit affects from this kind of identity theft, as well as any creditor who issues credit to the thief. It is difficult to track this type of identity fraud, since it does not usually show on the real person’s credit report directly. This could even show as a new file at the credit bureau or as a sub-file on the victim’s credit record. Creditors that have permitted or issued credit to the identity thief, can suffer also, since it is almost impossible to determine who they are.

Medical Identity Theft

This is a type of identity theft that a person uses an individual’s name and some of their information in order to obtain medical care, services or drugs. The information they may use can include insurance information and the individual has no clue their name or information is being used. When this type of event occurs it can cause the real owner of the insurance to receive improper medical care or potentially life-threatening medical decisions, since there has been incorrect information placed in their medical records.

Child Identity Theft

This is identity theft of a minor child’s social security number that is used to gain credit and other personal advantages. The child has no credit history, which makes this social security number valuable to the person that wants to steal it. They can obtain credit, get a driver’s license, and make large purchases, like buying a house, all under the guise that the social security number is their own. This is a crime that is usually done by a family member or friend, in some cases it can be done by a stranger that targets children. The fraud can continue for years, without being detected, since the victim is a minor who will not be using their number for years. According to Carnegie Mellon Cylab, Richard Power, using data from AllClear ID, it was discovered that approximately 10.2 percent of children were identity theft victims. This is about 40,000 children, whose information has been used by another person.

How Thieves Get Personal Information

These thieves need to obtain personal information in order to use another person’s identity, to appear authentic. Some of the methods they use, most people are aware of and other methods are less commonly known.

  • Digging in dumpsters or garbage cans for personal information.
  • Using public records to gain personal information.
  • Skimming credit card or bank card information with the use of hand held card readers in public retail location and making clone cards.
  • Using contactless credit card readers to wirelessly obtain data from RFID-passports.
  • Mail theft, breaking into homes or pick-pocketing checks, bank cards, credit cards, passports and identification cards.
  • Theft of checks to obtain account numbers and routing numbers.
  • Gaining personal and banking information with the use of malware, like Trojan horse keystroke logging programs, spyware and breaches in browser security.
  • Hacking computer networks, databases and systems to gain access to large amounts of personal data.
  • Acting fraudulently as customer service representatives or help desk employees to con individuals into disclosing personal information, login information or changing the password access.
  • Account verification and compromise questions, these are commonly used and one of the most used is “What is Your Mother’s Maiden Name.”
  • Use of social media sites to befriend individuals and gain trust to get their personal information.
  • Social media photos that are clickable and downloaded, which have low security and privacy protection.
  • Using information gained from an individual typing login and other personal information at public IT equipment locations. This is known as shoulder surfing.
  • Use of breaches that result in the publication of personal information, which may include name, address, credit card numbers and social security number.
  • Impersonation of a trusted organization in emails, telephone calls, SMS text messages or other forms of communication to have an individual provide personal information or login information. This is often done as a form of data collection known as phishing or on a fake corporate website. Many corporations explain they will never ask for this type of information on the phone or their website.
  • Browsing social network sites, such as Facebook, Twitter or MySpace for personal information that users have published.
  • Attacking weak passwords and reset password questions.
  • Diverting email or a post to gain personal information, credit card numbers, banking or credit statements and other personal information. This can delay the individual from finding out their account has been compromised.

Personal Identity Protection

The individual is often unaware of how naïve they are, with their personal information or login information. Identity thieves count on this, and they can steal information like credit cards, checkbooks, utility bills, bank statements and other things from a person’s vehicle, office, snatched purse or home. The US Federal Trade Commission, websites and the Canadian Phone Busters organizations address identity theft and offer recommendations on how to prevent personal information from reaching another person’s hands.

Identity theft can be partially eliminated by an individual by not using identifying information unnecessarily. They imply that IT systems and organizations should not require an excessive amount of personal information for identification and authentication purposes. The requirement and data storage of personal identifying information such as social security numbers, driver’s license number, credit card, national identification number and other information, will increase the risk of identity theft, unless it is adequately stored all the time.

Hacking and phishing electronic identity theft or using malware, the individual is advised to have and keep updated computer security. Keeping the operating system and browser secure, patched and running antivirus software can help avoid unwanted theft. The individual should be cautious of their IT use.

In some cases the thieves use obituaries, gravestones and other sources to use the identity of a deceased person, between their passing and the closing of their accounts. This is a combination of a grieving family being lacking concentration and the credit checking process. This crime can continue for an undetermined amount of time, until a family member or credit company notices the events and take action.

Commercial identity theft protection services are available in many countries and claim to help protect individuals from having their identity stolen. This is done for an annual or monthly membership fee. The service will normally either set fraud alerts on the individual’s credit files with each of the three major credit bureaus or using credit report monitoring. These services are heavily advertised, but the actual value of them has been questioned.

Identity Protection Organizations

The Federal Trade Commission testified in May of 1998 in front of the United States Senate, discussing the sale and use of personal identifiers and Social Security numbers, by data miners and credit raters. They agreed to self-regulating by the industry to restrict access of information on credit reports. The industry restrictions vary according to the category of the customer, since credit bureaus gather, disclose personal and credit information on a wide business range.

Inadequate security by organizations of personal data, results in unauthorized access and puts the individuals at risk of theft. According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, they have documented more than 900 data breaches, since January 2005 by U.S. government agencies and companies. This has involved over 200 million records that contained sensitive personal information, including many that had social security numbers. When a company has poor standards of data security it can include:
Failing to have adequate network security.
Failing to shred confidential documents before putting them in dumpsters.
Brokering personal information to another business, without the assurance of the other company maintaining security.
Government failure in registering sole proprietorships, corporations and partnerships to determine the article of incorporations officers are who they claim to be. This failure can result in criminals having access to personal information through credit ratings and data mining services.
Credit card numbers that are stolen by call center agents or individuals that have access to the recorded calls.
Laptop computer or portable media theft or carried out of the location that contain personal information. Use of encryption on these devices can reduce the chance of personal data being obtained or used.

Nationwide Impact

There was a decrease in the number of victims in the United States between 2003 and 2006, which decreased the dollar amount of identity fraud from $47 billion in 2003 to $15.6 billion in 2006. This resulted in an individual personal loss of $4789 in 2003 to $1882 in 2006. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center in a 2003 survey:
Approximately 73 percent of the surveyed individuals said the crime involved the thief gaining access to a credit card.

Approximately 15 percent of the individuals found out about the theft, due to action taken by a business. It took the victims approximately 330 hours to resolve the issues.
Victim of identity fraud Michelle Brown, testified in a U.S. Senate Committee Hearing and said that between January 1998 and July 1999 a person used her identity to acquire more than $50,000 in goods and services. Brown said not only did the individual damage her credit, but escalated in crimes, including drug trafficking. This resulted in an a warrant for Brown’s arrest, she had an erroneous arrest record and prison record, when the woman was booked in the Chicago Federal Prison under her name.

In the United Kingdom identity fraud costs are estimated at £1.2 billion annually, with experts believing the figure is much higher. Privacy groups do not believe the numbers to be correct an argue the figures are being used as a bargaining chip in the introduction of national ID cards.

Microsoft Research in 2011 claimed the estimates of identity fraud were largely exaggerated and surveys are compromised and biased. They said that no faith can be placed in the findings. Australia says identity theft was estimated at between $1 billion and $4 billion in 2001.

United States Legal Answers

In the United States the increase in this crime, has led to the enacting of the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act. The Federal Trade Commission appeared before the U.S. Senate to discuss FTC crimes, in which consumer credit was exploited to gain lines of credit, loan fraud, mortgage and credit card fraud, along with commodities and services fraud.

The Identity Theft Deterrence Act amended U.S. Code Title 18, § 1028. This statute changed from fraud related to activity in connection with identification documents, information and authentication to include any means of identification an individual knowingly possess, with or without lawful authority. It is a federal crime, but the crime must include an identification document that is issued by the United States or intended to be used to defraud the United States in order to be tried on a federal level. This is outlined in 18 U.S.C. § 1028 and can carry a 5, 15, 20 or 30 year prison sentence in federal prison. The laws were also strengthened for unlawful means of identification in § 1028 (aggravated identity theft), which permits consecutive sentencing.

This act provided the Federal Trade Commission with the authority to track incidences and dollar losses. Their authority mainly focuses on consumer financial crimes and does not include the range of all identification crimes. Charges brought by states or local law enforcement agencies will have different penalties, than charges on a federal level. It will depend on the state laws, which each state can differ in their penalties.

California and Wisconsin have created the Office of Privacy Protection, which helps citizens to avoid issues with theft and those who are recovering from identity theft. Other states have followed the California mandatory data breach notification laws. This has resulted in all companies reporting data breaches to their customers. The IRS created the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit to assist taxpayers who have become victims of federal tax related identity theft. The taxpayer will be required to submit Form 14039, which is their Identity Theft Affidavit.