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Identity theft occurs when another person’s identity is used by another person without permission and to gain a benefit.  Most common forms of identity theft occur when the victim’s identity is used to obtain credit or other economic benefits. For example, identity theft is used to obtain credit cards, loans, cell phones, apartments, rental equipment, false information to law enforcement (trying to get out of a ticket or criminal charge) and just about anything imaginable.
When identity theft occurs the suspect must have obtained the victims personal information.  This can be done in numerous ways.  For example, personal information may be obtained by theft of mail, theft of a vehicle that contains personal information, theft of a purse or wallet, going through a person’s trash or recycling, social websites, hand held credit card readers, E-mails, job offers, data breach from a Government office, breach of a financial institution including department stores, public records, medical provider, or other organizations that maintains a data base with individuals’ personal information.  Computer hackers are able to use software that hacks into a person’s personal computer to access personal information.  Scammers can make phone calls acting as a service provider, i.e. credit card company, and request personal information.
Identification information can include items like an identification card, driver’s license, military ID, credit card, debit card, personal check, and payroll check.  Items of value can include cash, property, services, and payment of debts.
Colorado law identifies several situations in which identity theft is deemed to have occurred:
Uses another’s identity:  Identify theft can occur when a person knowingly uses another person’s identification information with the intent to obtain something of value without permission or authorization.  
Intent to use:  Identity theft can occur when a person knowingly possesses another person’s identification information with the intent to use it or to help or allow another person to use the identifying information to obtain cash, credit, services, or anything of value.
Attempt to defraud:  Identity theft can occur when a person creates a false written instrument, or otherwise alters, signs, changes, forges, utters, or amends the pertinent information of another with intent to defraud.
Applying for credit: Identity theft can occur when a person uses the identification of another without permission or authority in an application for credit.
Obtaining government issued IDs:  Identity theft can occur when a person uses or possesses the identification of another to obtain a document issued by the government, including items such as driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, food stamp cards, etc
Potential penalties for a conviction of, or pleading guilty to identity theft:  Identity theft is a class 4 felony carrying a presumptive range of 2-6 years of prison (jail).  Identity theft can include a mandatory sentence to the department of corrections (prison) when a person is convicted of identity theft, conspiracy to commit identity theft, solicitation to commit identity theft and, the person has a prior conviction for an identity theft related crime in Colorado, the United States or any territory of the United States (see Colorado Revised Statute 18-5-902).
When a person is charged with identity theft, the person is often charged with related offenses.  For example, if the accused is also accused of obtaining anything of value the police could also charge the person with theft.  Likewise, if the accused is also accused of signing a person’s name, for example on a credit card charge, they could be charged with forgery.
A person charged with identity theft needs to consult with an attorney that is experienced in this area of law.