Identity theft is a serious issue that costs millions of dollars a year. This crime is not something to take lightly. Law enforcement even has special task forces that help bring down identity thieves. However, there is something that may occur that one may classify as identity theft but typically is not. 

Reverse identity theft, according to IndieWebCamp, is when someone else mistakenly uses your email to sign up for something. The result of this is that you will start to receive messages about this person’s account. You will also have some access to the account due to authentication systems that typically use email addresses to verify accounts and as a way to get into an account due to a forgotten password or login information. 

The problem 

Receiving another person’s personal information is obviously an issue. You are at risk of someone claiming that your stole her or his identity. The truth is that you do have access to sensitive personal information for someone who is not you. This could open the door to a potentially serious legal situation. 

The crime 

Reverse identity theft is not a crime by itself. After all, you did not do anything to cause the situation. It will only become a crime if you react criminally. Florida statutes explains that if you use the information you gain from the emails you receive or the access you have to this other person’s private information in a criminal manner, then you commit identity theft. 

If you do not use your accidental access in a nefarious way, then you should be fine. You can take steps to try to correct the situation. You may need to contact the company sending the emails to let them know that the email address is incorrect. However, as long as you simply ignore the emails and do not try to take over the person’s account or steal personal information, then you should be in the clear.