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North Carolina Identity Theft Laws

Identity theft is a crime that involves the use (or theft) of another person's personal identifiable information, such as Social Security number and birth date, to open credit accounts and other nefarious acts.

Identity Theft In North Carolina

Under North Carolina's identity theft laws even a first offense is charged as a felony, punishable by up to 80 months in prison and a fine of up to $50,000. The state also allows victims to seek damages in civil court.

Notify the Credit Bureaus

If you are a victim of identity theft, contact the three (3) nationwide credit bureaus immediately and set up a fraud alert. A fraud alert tells banks and other creditors to take extra steps to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name, but it will not stop credit in your name. A fraud alert is free and will last 90 days unless you request an extended seven-year fraud alert and provide a police report.

  1. Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  2. Experian: 1-888-397-3742
  3. TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

The details of North Carolina's identity theft laws are listed below. See FindLaw's Identity Theft section for tips on how to avoid becoming a victim and how to recover from the crime.

Code Section N.C. Gen. Stat. §§14-113.20 (2000) et seq.; 1-539.2C
Classification of Crime/Penalties Automatic class G felony; if victim suffers arrest, detention, or conviction as a result of the offense: class F felony; restitution may be ordered, including actual losses, lost wages, attorney's fees, and other costs
Who May Prosecute Attorney General may investigate, but shall refer all cases to district attorney of county in which crime occurred
Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws It is not violation of criminal statute to obtain credit information in course of bona fide transaction, lawfully and in good faith exercise a security interest or right of offset as a creditor or financial institution, lawfully comply, in good faith, with any warrant, levy, garnishment, etc. when required to do so
Civil Lawsuit Allowed? Civil action allowed
Civil Remedies Available Civil damages up to the greater of $5,000 per incident of identity theft or 3 times the actual damages; victim may enjoin identity thief from future acts of theft; the court may award reasonable attorney fees to the prevailing party
Misc. Trafficking in stolen identities is a class E felony

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

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North Carolina Identity Theft Laws: Related Resources

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