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New Jersey Identity Theft Laws

One commits identity theft by using someone else's name and personal data (such as a Social Security number or address) to open up an account or acquire something of value. Identity theft is certainly not a new crime. However, with the advent of the internet and the technology that has since developed, it has become significantly easier for criminals to steal sensitive, personally identifying information. To protect people from identity theft, states have enacted various laws criminalizing the impersonation of another and/or assuming a false identity.

Under New Jersey's identity theft law, charges are more severe for crimes resulting in the most financial loss. It is a crime of the fourth degree if someone is found to have benefited less than $500 by stealing another’s identity. If someone benefits $500 or more but less than $75,000, it is considered to be a crime of the third degree. Finally, if someone benefits $75,000 or more by stealing another’s identity, it is considered to be a crime of the second degree.

The following chart highlights the main provisions of New Jersey's identity theft laws.

Code Section

N.J. Stat. Ann. §2C:21-17 (West 1999)

Classification of Crime/Penalties

If loss is less than $500: crime of the fourth degree; if loss is $500 or more but less than $75,000: crime of the third degree; if loss is $75,000 or more: crime of the second degree

Who May Prosecute


Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws

Criminal statute does not apply to minors attempting to obtain privileges denied to minors

Civil Lawsuit Allowed?


Civil Remedies Available




Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a New Jersey criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

More Information

For more general information on the subject, check out FindLaw's section on identity theft to find tips and steps to take to protect your identity -- as well as what to do if your identity has been stolen. You can also click on the links below for related articles and resources dealing specifically with New Jersey. Finally, depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be in your best interests to consult with either a criminal defense attorney or a consumer protection lawyer.

Research the Law

New Jersey Identity Theft Laws: Related Resources

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