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Woman charged with identity theft in Minnesota

According to a veteran computer crimes investigator, Minnesota residents who wish to avoid becoming the victims of identity theft should consider freezing their credit profiles. While blocking access to credit reports can create some inconveniences for consumers, it also makes life much more difficult for those who wish to use the information they contain to open accounts and make fraudulent purchases. Consumers who wish to learn more about freezing their credit can contact the various credit reporting agencies or the Federal Trade Commission.

The issue was raised in Minnesota recently when a prosecutor in Dakota County charged a Detroit woman for opening credit card accounts using other peoples' information and then purchasing goods worth about $18,000 at Menards home improvement stores. Police say that many identity theft cases involve individuals who use the identifying information they have obtained to purchase items that are then resold.

The computer crimes expert gave his advice to restrict access to credit reports because the woman is also said to have contacted the Postal Service to prevent the scheme's victims from finding out that credit card accounts had been opened in their names. Prosecutors say that they were surprised to learn that post offices only require a name and address to process such a request.

Criminal trials for white collar crimes like identity theft, fraud and embezzlement can be quite challenging for prosecutors. This is because establishing proof beyond any reasonable doubt in these cases usually involves explaining confusing documents and complex laws to juries. Criminal defense attorneys with experience in this area may offer prosecutors a way to avoid prolonged and expensive courtroom battles by showing a willingness to settle cases involving white collar crimes at the negotiating table. Attorneys may expect prosecutors to lower the charges or penalties involved significantly in return for a speedy resolution.

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