The Role of Social Media in Identity Theft

There are real-life consequences for identity theft associated with social media accounts. A criminal defense attorney who accepts identity theft cases can build a defense for you if you face identity theft charges or upcoming legal action. Here is an overview of the law regarding social media identity theft and how to defend yourself and avoid conviction or legal consequences when facing criminal offenses. 

What Does the Law Say About Social Media Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when an offender poses as someone else for money, services, or anything of value. With so much of our personal, banking, and financial business conducted digitally, identity theft laws protect victims from privacy invasion and digital impersonation. Those laws include:

  • In New Jersey, state identity theft laws are harsh for all versions of this crime, whether someone lifts your wallet or uses “deep fake” technology to impersonate you. 
  • The Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act (ITPEA) amplifies the consequences of using or possessing someone’s legal, financial, or personal information, including those on social media. 

Common Pitfalls on Social Media

Whether you are a victim or the accused, learn how to avoid common social media pitfalls that expose you to potential loss and legal action:

  • Avoid Unknown Connections – Exercise caution when accepting friend requests from unknown individuals on social networking sites to avoid potential scrutiny or scams. 
  • Learn Cybersecurity Measures – Stay informed about cybersecurity best practices, use strong passwords, and enable two-factor authentication to enhance account security.
  • Have Prudent Interactions – Be cautious in online interactions on social media sites and avoid engaging in activities or chats that could be misinterpreted or used against you. Remember, prosecutors have digital forensic experts who can retrieve “deleted” information. 
  • Manage Digital Footprint – Review and adjust privacy settings regularly to control who can access your social media account information, including those who use your logins. 
  • Document Communications – Keep records of online communications, messages, and interactions that may be relevant to build a defense if needed.

What To Do If Facing Accusations of Identity Theft

While many identity theft cases are at the state level, federal authorities typically intervene when the offense extends across state lines, includes a conspiracy to commit fraud, or involves significant financial loss. The consequences are significant, but there are proactive steps you can take if you face a potential identity theft conviction. 

The most crucial step is to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney, particularly one well-versed in white-collar crime cases and identity theft. They can assess your case and build a defense that could be based on the following: 

  • Insufficient Evidence – To secure a conviction in the criminal justice system, the prosecution must present enough evidence to demonstrate your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An attorney may ask the court to dismiss the charges if the evidence is weak or lacking. 
  • Plausible Innocence – An experienced criminal defense lawyer could present a plausible explanation for the evidence presented by the prosecution. 
  • Mistaken Identity – In some cases, a white-collar crime attorney can argue that the prosecution filed criminal charges against the wrong person. 

Contact Our New Jersey Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help

If you’re facing an identity theft conviction due to social media cases, you need a skilled attorney who can help. At Keith Oliver Criminal Law, our criminal defense lawyers have the resources and experience to navigate the intricacies of cybercrime cases and defend against criminal accusations. We offer legal representation and supportive client service to build a strong defense. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Author: Keith G. Oliver

Founding partner Keith G. Oliver has a passion for helping people who are caught up in the criminal justice system. He believes that everyone has a right to be presumed innocent, and that one mistake shouldn’t define a person forever. This passion drives Mr. Oliver to tirelessly fight for his clients and pursue the best possible outcome in every case.