Identity theft has become one of the largest crimes in the United States in the last ten years. There are a number of reasons that have led to its growth. People have the ability to bank electronically and shop on the internet. Those that chose to create ways to steal money and identities from people have unlimited time on their hands. Also, a lot of these people do their trade craft overseas.
The federal government has been cracking down on identity theft and aggravated identity theft, which carries an additional consecutive two year prison term. I have tried a number of these cases and have had success at getting the aggravated identity theft charge either dismissed or not proven.
The dilemma is that criminals tend to stay ahead of the curve of laws and technology. The worst part of identity theft is that we all suffer in the end as tax payers. Credit card companies have to pay the illegitimate charges, the companies raise their fees and we as consumers pay higher credit card rates in the end.
I know from personal experience last year, my credit card number was stolen three times in six weeks. American Express issued me three new cards over six weeks. American Express called me one day and asked if I had purchased air tickets to Russia and train tickets to Seattle in the same day. Obviously, I had not and was glad that my company detected the charges before they showed up on my billing statement.
I saw a report today where credit card companies had developed three new areas of technology to fight identity theft. The first technology that credit card companies are using is fingerprint identification. The second technology is eye retina identification and third is selfie pictures.
Fingerprint identification is a good way to correctly determine if the person is real. In fact, Apple has incorporated fingerprint identification on their IPhones for a couple of years now. The only set back to fingerprint identification is that I do not believe it is practical with internet shopping. Eye retina identification sounds futurist or like something out of a Hollywood movie. It reminds me of the movie Entrapment, in which an eye scan was needed to open the bank vault. The reality is that we are headed for all sorts of cool and personal identification in the coming years. Credit card companies are trying to keep up with technology to make sure that credit card customers are protected.
The bad news is that even though all of these technological advances will help, there will always be people willing to think of ways to outsmart the laws. The good news is that because of the technology and innovation, it produces jobs and spurs new innovations for society.
This is where I come into play as a lawyer. It is my role to make sure that before the government takes someone’s liberty that a person has been found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Fortunately, it is not enough to say that someone has broken the law or made accusations of a crime. The government must produce the evidence in court for a conviction.
That is why, as we celebrate our Independence, I am so proud to be an American. I often am asked how I do my job and not feel like I am helping someone to “get off” or “beat the system”. My reply has always been that it is my role to protect the constitutional rights of the accused. It is not my role to judge or question the actions of my clients. My role is to provide the same defense that you would want for a member of your family.
We still have the greatest justice system on earth. Happy Fourth of July America.