When it comes to identity theft, most people simply look at it in basic financial terms. They fear that some criminal is going to steal their personal bank or credit card information. However, identity theft can take other forms as well. The one I come across most often is when someone’s identity is stolen for criminal prosecution cases. It happens quite often where a person is arrested and prosecuted all the while using somebody else’s name and identity. Perpetrators do this so that they may avoid picking up a charge on their criminal record.
I frequently come across clients who had no idea there was some conviction on their criminal record which came about because someone stole their identity. While the victim of the theft doesn’t have to serve the sentence since they weren’t the one actually convicted, they may still be harmed in other ways. Background checks are done all the time now by everyone from potential employers to potential landlords. Having an unknown offense on your criminal record can be the hidden road block that prevents you from reaching your dreams.
People should make sure that they are aware of any potential erroneous cases on their criminal record, especially if they have been a financial victim of identity theft. It’s fairly simple to look into your criminal history from the FBI or Illinois State Police. It would be a good idea to do a background check before any major life change (for example, before beginning a job search).
If you do find that you have been a victim of identity theft, the court will allow you to expunge it from your record. If the expungement is granted, your name will be removed from the case files and police records, and it will be obliterated from the official index kept by the circuit court clerk.