Identity Theft Law – The Legal Implications and Consequences of Identity Fraud

Identity Fraud is a serious offense and identity fraud law has been enacted in the United States of America to curb this growing menace. Lawmakers and law enforcement agencies became aware of the growing incidence of identity theft and passed the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act (ITADA) in 1998 to bring identity thieves to justice and protect the victim.

More often than not identity fraud involves online transactions and the culprit is anonymous and faceless. The process of tracing the culprit is therefore tedious and difficult but not impossible. With increasing use of the internet in day-to-day activities there has been a proportional increase in the number of identity fraud cases.

Tracking down the criminal requires coordination between various federal organizations like the FTC, postal inspection service, United States secret service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Justice and the credit report agency

Identity fraud law vests the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with the task of receiving complaints from victims of identity theft and providing them the necessary information. The FTC processes the complaint and then refers it to an appropriate authority for further necessary action.

ITADA passed by the United States Senate in 1998 identified identity thefts associated with mortgage, credit card, loans, services and commodities as punishable. With the complexity of identity thefts increasing, the Senate amended the ITADA in 2003.

The ITADA in its amended form makes it illegal for any individual to be knowingly in possession of another person’s identity without lawful authority. If the identity is used to commit, aid or abet any activity that is a violation of Federal law it is a serious federal crime and appropriate legal measures will be initiated.

The ITADA recognizes identity fraud as a serious felony and if guilt is proved in a court of law the culprit could serve up to thirty years in prison in addition to penalties.

California and Wisconsin are two states in the USA that have created an office of privacy protection entrusted with the responsibility of educating citizens about avoiding identity theft and assisting them to cope with and recover from an identity fraud.

California also enacted a data breach notification law that was later emulated by many states. This law stipulates that a company must notify all its customers of any breach of data that is identified.

Currently most states in the United States have enacted special laws to fight identity theft. Most states also have a special section within the Attorney General’s office that deals exclusively with identity theft.

You should intimate the FTC immediately after coming to know about identity theft. You can do this through email or calling up their toll free number or making a personal visit to the local FTC office. You should also inform the credit reporting agency and local police department.

Identity fraud law is relatively new and amendments will be made as conmen devise newer ways of swindling money. Being well informed and prevention is the best way to fight identity fraud.

Family Law Attorney – Their Services

This is a branch of the law that deal with domestic relations and family matters like marriage, adoption, child abuse, child abduction, property settlements, child support and visitation, and more. It is also referred to as matrimonial law. In many jurisdictions, family courts are the ones with the most-crowded court dockets. The attorney who handles these types of cases is called a family law attorney or lawyer. The main two issues that this lawyer would handle are legal separations and divorce. During these issues, the attorney would attempt to dive marital property, advocate the amount that should be paid for alimony and child support, settle child custody issues, and set visitation rights. In divorce and separation cases, each party will have their own family law attorney. If no settlement can be reached for any issues they could be taken into the court and they judge would usually issue the final order on the issues.

Adoption is another field that a family law attorney handles. The attorney will help the couple through the many steps that has to be taken in order to make the adoption legal. In every jurisdiction, the laws are different and may vary according to how old the child is. In some locations the birth parents will always retain some rights while in other jurisdictions, all of their legal parental rights have been given up completely.

Another duty that a family law attorney does is create documents to help prevent foreseeable future issues. One example is creating a prenuptial agreement that will set forth how the assets would be divided if the couple were to divorce. It could also be a post-nuptial agreement that not only how assets would be divided but also how child visitation, custody, and support should be arranged. They may also set up a trust fund in the name of children or a spouse if they have that level of expertise. In some situations, a family law attorney may have to handle criminal issues. The attorney could specialize in specific areas like domestic violence or juvenile law.

A family law attorney can work in a law firm or open their own offices. To become an attorney you will have to attend law school and then pass an exam in order to become a practicing attorney. Before going on to law school, you will have to have a high school diploma or the equivalent as long as it is jurisdiction accepted. While in college, you need to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in any major but it is helpful for preparing for a law career if it is a business major, law-related, or in political science. To help gain some experience work as a clerk or intern in a law firm that specializes in family law.

Law School Essay Exams – Focus on Key Facts

“Legal problem solving – identifying and diagnosing problems and generating strategies and tactics to achieve client objectives – is a legally trained person’s most basic function. Most legal problem solving activity involves some legal analysis – combining law and facts to generate, justify, and assess a legal problem’s merits.” (Legal Services Practice Manual: Skills, 2010)

All lawsuits arise as a result of disputes involving facts. Our legal system revolves around resolving disputes through the application of rules of law to the facts of a case. Yes, trials and appeals are about “law,” but remember that the trial court judge, or the jury, is referred to as the “trier-of-fact.” Determinations of facts are so important that the Bill of Rights guarantees that facts once decided by a jury are pretty much the last word. The seventh amendment provides that, “…no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.” This clause forbids any court from reexamining or overturning any factual determinations made by a jury, unless the factual determinations are clearly erroneous.

The two major components of the dispute resolution process are the applicable law and the facts of the dispute. In the professional practice of law, you will be sifting through the case file to identify which of the hundreds or thousands of facts produced by discovery (for example, witness statements, deposition transcripts, answers to interrogatories, photographs, and correspondence) are “key” facts. Key facts are those facts that are critical to the outcome of the case. A key fact is so essential that if it were changed, the outcome of the case might well be different.

In law school, you are practicing this skill of focusing on facts – in order for you to learn to assess legal problems, you must be able to find the important facts… the key facts, the facts upon which the outcome of the issue in question depends. When writing an answer to a law school essay exam question, you must ferret out these salient facts from all the facts presented in the narrative. Think of them as keys that unlock point-scoring issue discussions.

But how? Here are the basic steps to determining which facts are key facts.

  • Identify each claim possibly raised by the exam question.
  • State the rules that will be used to resolve each issue of each claim. These rules include the elements which need to be addressed in the discussion of each issue.
  • Pinpoint which facts in the question possibly relate to the elements of those issues.

This last step involves determining which facts may be legally significant. Legally significant facts might be, for example, that a tenant with an eviction notice has never been supplied with hot water; or that the shooter was an off-duty policeman; or that a party to a contract may have been a minor; or that the geographical distance between the provoking incident and the killing may have been long enough to provide adequate time for a reasonable person to “cool off” the heat of his passion.

After outlining your answer, read through the exam question one more time carefully and quickly (you should be quite familiar with the question by this time, so the reading can go much faster than it did the first time through). Make sure you have assigned all the facts presented in the hypothetical question (the exam) to some issue. If not, ask yourself if these facts suggest another issue, can be used to further explain an issue you already noted, or are merely “red herrings” (facts in the question which might lead you to an errant discussion). Then use this fact-rich outline as a roadmap for answering the question. Note that your outline need not include explanations of why facts are important – the detailed analysis comes in your answer. The outline is only your writing guide.

As for the outline, you may want to follow a traditional outline pattern (bullet points, hierarchies, mind-mapping, etc.)… or, to accent the fact-finding, you may want to think about a two-column approach. You can outline your answer using two separate columns. Specifically, you can list the issues in one column, and then note the facts that need to be discussed in relation to those rules in the column next to it. This method will allow you to match the issues or sub-issues of law with the facts of the question. Skimming through the question quickly (again) before actually writing the essay, you can quickly note if you have skipped over a fact.

Long before encountering exams, work on recognizing key facts. Focus on key facts when you brief cases for class. Some students find that including basic fact patterns in their self-made course outlines – as illustrations of the rules that appear in the outlines – helps them think of the rules in situational terms.

Many years ago, when I was a little boy, fictional Los Angeles police Sergeant Joe Friday, hero of the “Dragnet” television series, used to say to witnesses he interviewed, “All we want are the facts.” Well, there’s more to it than that when you’re trying to score high on a law school essay exam… but Sgt. Friday was zeroing in on one of the two essential components – you should too!