Official State of Iowa Website

Identity Theft

Identity theft happens when someone gets essential personal or financial information (such as your Social Security number or credit card details) through fraud, theft, or deception. The person then uses this information for their financial benefit, such as charging items to your credit card, applying for loans in your name, or taking your tax refund. The person who takes your information may be someone you don’t know, or it may be someone you know, and can even sometimes be a family member or someone you considered a friend.

Identity theft is a crime. Iowa Code section 715A.8 says:Drawing of a book with the word "Law" written on the cover and spine

A person commits the offense of identity theft if the person fraudulently uses or attempts to fraudulently use identification information of another person, with the intent to obtain credit, property, services, or other benefit.

Victims of identity theft may suffer financial losses and often have to spend a significant amount of time, effort, and even money to address the issues caused by the identity theft.

In Iowa, victims of identity theft can apply for the Identity Theft Passport Program, which was created by Iowa Code section 715A.9A and is also covered in Iowa Administrative Rule 61-35.4(715A).

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office website gives detailed information about the program, including how to apply. Victims of identity theft can show the passport to:

  • Law enforcement, to help prevent being arrested for crimes committed by the person who is falsely using their identity
  • Creditors (like credit card companies) to help the creditor investigate possible fraudulent account charges or accounts wrongly opened in the victim’s name

Icon of a person standing in front of a judge with a documentIowa Code section 714.16B also creates a civil cause of action for people who have been victims of identity theft. This means that victims of identity theft who lost money because of the identity theft can bring a lawsuit against the person who stole their identity.

For more information on identity theft, visit the Iowa Attorney General’s website, the FTC’s Identity Theft website, or Iowa Legal Aid.