Q: Is check forgery or use of a stolen credit card “identity theft?”
A: Yes. The final rules define identity theft with reference to the FTC’s regulation, 16 C.F.R. § 603.2(a), which provides that the term “identity theft” means “a fraud committed or attempted using the identifying information of another person without authority.” The FTC defines the term “identifying information” to mean:
any name or number that may be used, alone or in conjunction with any other information, to identify a specific person, including any-
1) Name, social security number, date of birth, official State or government issued driver’s license or identification number, alien registration number, government passport number, employer or taxpayer identification number;
2) Unique biometric data, such as fingerprint, voice print, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation;
3) Unique electronic identification number, address, or routing code; or
4) Telecommunication identifying information or access device (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 1029(e)).
Thus, under the FTC’s regulation, the creation of a fictitious identity using any single piece of information belonging to a real person, such as check forgery or the use of a stolen credit card, falls within the definition of “identity theft” because such a fraud involves “using the identifying information of another person without authority.”