Let's try to imagine how many times in a typical day it would be possible for someone to steal our data and take our place!

Identity fraud of an individual's personal data with the aim of committing illegal acts in his name has always interested the cyber criminal.

Until recently, Italian laws didn't have any specific legislation on identity fraud. The crime was punishable pursuant to Article 494 of the Criminal Code relating to "Impersonation", that is the action made by those who steal or use someone's identity for personal benefit and/or to cause damage. Yet this rule did not do proper justice to those victims of digital identity theft. It was, therefore, necessary to fill this gap in the law with new Italian laws.

And so it was, with the enactment of:

Decree Law 93/2013 converted into Law n. 119 of 15 October 2013

And the introduction of:

Article 640-ter, paragraph 3 of the Criminal Code,

Which punishes computer fraud with imprisonment from 2 to 6 years and with a fine ranging from EUR 600 to EUR 3,000 "... if the act is committed with theft or improper use of digital identity to the detriment of one or more people ".

Points to consider generally in these types of crimes are:

  • The victim may not be aware of the identity theft until he/she suffers the consequences.
  • The subtraction must necessarily involve a real identity, of a natural or legal person. But it is the increasingly widespread use of nicknames, especially on social networks, that makes it particularly difficult to attribute the crime to a certain person.
  • It is not only those who are active on social networks or surf the net running into such problems. For example, the widespread use by department stores of ID documents upon payment of products by cheque which are found to be photocopied later on.

Digital identity theft has a strong psychological impact on the victim, as well as consequences from an economic point of view, it can affect a person or company's reputation and force the victim to defend themselves against something they never committed. With technological innovation always developing, State, companies and individuals must raise the issue of quality and efficiency standards of the services provided and be responsible for what information they provide online. These Italian laws by themselves can only go so far, there is always a constant battle to balance between the undeniable needs and rights of free network access and the need for security, which is as much about the individual as the public or private organization.

To discuss identity fraud or other cyber crimes, Italian laws that you may be affected by, contact our legal team here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.