Identity theft is an act in which a person or organization uses another person's identifying information to commit various types of fraud. One form of this fraud is called criminal identity theft, which occurs when a person steals another party's identity and gives the victim's name to law enforcement officials. There are basically two types of criminal identity theft. A criminal may commit this crime by giving a law enforcement official the victim's name and other identifying information, or he may provide an ID with the victim's name on it.
For one type of criminal identity theft, the criminal may be arrested by a law enforcement official and decide to give the identity theft victim's name and other identifying information instead of his own. For example, he may provide the victim's name, social security number, and even his driver's license number in order to avoid being prosecuted in his own name. A criminal may impersonate his victim for everything from a traffic violation to a murder charge. Oftentimes, the impersonator is sometimes a person who knows the victim well, such as a friend or family member.
Another type of criminal identity theft involves the creation of a fake ID. In some cases, a criminal may create a fake ID for the purpose of impersonating the victim. In other cases, however, a criminal may gain access to the victim's private documents and use them to obtain an official ID in the victim's name. For example, he may obtain a state identification form or even a driver's license or passport. When he is arrested or otherwise gets into trouble with the law, he may present this documentation to law enforcement officials.
In some cases, an identity theft criminal may show up for court and serve any time that he is sentenced; he may also pay any fines the court sets. In other cases, however, the criminal doesn't show up for court, and the judge issues a bench warrant for his arrest. Either way, this sort of theft is a major problem for the victim. Typically, a victim of this sort of fraud is completely unaware that anyone has stolen his identity and is one day surprised to be arrested and taken to face a judge because the real criminal didn't show up for court. If the criminal did show up, however, the victim may eventually face the surprise that he has a criminal record for a crime he didn't commit.