HARRISBURG, Pa. – Gov. Mark Schweiker signed House Bill 1546 in to law recently expanding the offense of ID theft to include any possession or use of ID without consent for an unlawful purpose. The law takes effect 60 days from the signing date. Sponsored by Rep. Matthew Baker (R-Tioga), the measure also allows for separate offenses to be linked in to one scheme to help determine the grade of the offense. An action relating to damages in actions for identity theft may be brought within four years of the date of the offense or four years from the date of discovery of the identity theft. Damages include actual damages arising from the incident or $500, whichever is greater. Actual damages include loss of money, reputation or property, whether real or personal. Reasonable attorneys fees and court costs also may be awarded, as well as any additional relief the court deems necessary and proper.

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