Colorado Identity Theft Laws
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed March 16, 2018
In simple terms, identity theft is when one person uses the identifying information of another for financial gain. And every day that we’re using our private identifying information in public ways, identity theft scams are becoming more dangerous. Because of this, the Rocky Mountain State has laws to protect citizens from identity theft offenders. Under Colorado law, for example, identity theft can be punishable by up to 6 years in prison, up to $500,000 in fines, and possible restitution to the victim or victims.
Victims of Identity Theft
Because Colorado's identity theft laws can only be enforced after the fact, it helps to take preventive steps to protect yourself. For example, you should:
- Always be diligent for irregular activity when reading credit card statements, bank account statements, and any government statements
- Regularly monitor your credit report and any posted credit activity.
- Make your passwords hard to guess by using numbers, capital and lower case letters, and even symbols, and change them frequently.
- Avoid stand-alone ATMs and only use those ATMs affiliated with a bank or attached to a building surface.
You can find more information on protecting yourself from identity theft, scams in FindLaw's consumer protection section.
Colorado Identity Theft Statutes At A Glance
The following table outlines the relevant identity theft laws in Colorado.
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-5-902 (elements of identity theft)
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-5-903 (criminal possession of a financial device)
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-5-903.5 (criminal possession of an identification document)
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-5-904 (gathering identity information by deception)
Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-5-905 (possession of identity theft tools)
|Classification of Crime/Penalties||
Knowingly using or possessing the personal identifying information, financial identifying information, or financial device of another without permission or lawful authority, with the intent to use or to aid or permit some other person to use such information or device to obtain cash, credit, property, services, or any other thing of value or to make a financial payment;
Knowingly possessing the personal identifying information or financial identifying information of another without permission or lawful authority to use in applying for or completing an application for a financial device or other extension of credit;
Knowingly uses or possesses the personal identifying information of another without permission or lawful authority with the intent to obtain a government-issued document; and
With the intent to defraud, falsely making, completing, altering, or uttering a written instrument or financial device containing any personal identifying information or financial identifying information of another.
Identity theft is a class 4 felony punishable by 2-6 years imprisonment and $2,000-$500,000 in fines.
|Who May Prosecute?||
Any criminal prosecuting authority (State Attorney General, local prosecutors).
|Civil Lawsuit Allowed?||
|Civil Remedies Available?||
Victim may recover preliminary and equitable relief as court deems appropriate, and greater of actual damages or liquidated damages up to $10,000; court may assess attorney fees and other reasonable litigation costs.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Related Resources for Colorado Identity Theft Laws:
- Colorado Credit and Debit Card Fraud
- Colorado Forgery Laws
- Colorado Computer Crimes Laws
- Colorado Criminal Statute of Limitations Laws
Facing Identity Theft Charges? Get in Touch With an Attorney Today
It's not hard to imagine situations where one may have innocently used the identity of another as can happen when mistakenly acting under a power of attorney or on behalf of a loved one. If you're facing prosecution under Colorado identity theft laws, you'll get your day in court, but you want to make sure that you have a zealous advocate in your corner. There are Colorado criminal defense attorneys in your area that specialize in identity theft and fraud crimes and who can help you today.
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