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South Carolina Identity Theft Laws

The phrase “identity theft” has become so ubiquitous recently that there are even Hollywood comedies on the subject. But what does it mean to have your identity stolen? And what are the laws in the Palmetto State that can help protect citizens from identity theft? Here are the basics of identity theft laws in South Carolina.

Identity Theft Laws

Identity theft is when one person uses the identifying information of another for financial gain, and the more we use our private identifying information in public ways, the more prevalent identity theft scams become. Under South Carolina law, identity theft is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

South Carolina Identity Theft Statutes

The following table outlines identity theft laws in South Carolina.

Code Section

South Carolina code of Laws 16-13-510: Financial Identity Fraud

What is Prohibited


  • Appropriating the financial resources of the other individual to the person's own use or the use of a third party;
  • Devising a scheme or artifice to defraud; or
  • Obtaining money, property, or services by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises obtains or records identifying information which would assist in accessing the financial records of the other individual or accesses or attempts to access the financial resources of the other individual through the use of identifying information.

Classification of Crime / Penalties

Automatic felony

Imprisonment up to 10 years, or fine in the discretion of the court, or both; court may order restitution for victim

Who May Prosecute

Any prosecuting authority

Exemptions to Identity Theft Laws


Civil Lawsuit Allowed?


Civil Remedies Available




South Carolina’s identity theft laws can penalize criminals after the crime has occurred, but it is up to you to protect yourself against identity theft. You should always be diligent when reading your credit card statements, bank account statements, and any government statements to check for irregular activity. You should also make any passwords hard to guess by using numbers, capital and lower case letters, and even symbols, change them frequently, and definitely don't use the same password for all your accounts. You can find more resources on protecting yourself from identity theft in FindLaw’s consumer protection section.

Related Resources for South Carolina Identity Theft Laws:

Identity theft laws can be as hard to understand as the scams that they outlaw. For more articles and resources on this topic, you can also visit FindLaw's Identity Theft Basics and Stolen Identity sections. If you would like legal assistance with an identity theft matter, you can contact a South Carolina consumer protection attorney.

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