Criminal Law

2040. Unauthorized Use of Personal Identifying Information

The defendant is charged [in Count ______] with the unauthorized use of someone else's personal identifying information.

To prove that the defendant is guilty of this crime, the People must prove that:

1. The defendant willfully obtained someone else's personal identifying information;

2. The defendant willfully used that information for an unlawful purpose;


3. The defendant used the information without the consent of the person whose identifying information (he/she) was using.

Personal identifying information includes the (name [;]/ [and] address[;]/ [and] telephone number[;]/ [and] health insurance identification number[;]/ [and] taxpayer identification number[;]/ [and] school identification number[;]/ [and] state or federal driver's license number or identification number[;]/ [and] social security number[;]/ [and] place of employment[;]/ [and] employee identification number[;]/ [and] mother's maiden name[;]/ [and] demand deposit account number[;]/ [and] savings account number[;]/ [and] checking account number[;]/ [and] PIN (personal identification number) or password[;]/ [and] alien registration number[;]/ [and] government passport number[;]/ [and] date of birth[;]/ [and] unique biometric data such as fingerprints, facial-scan identifiers, voice print, retina or iris image, or other unique physical representation[;]/ [and] unique electronic data such as identification number, address, or routing code, telecommunication identifying information or access device[;]/ [and] information contained in a birth or death certificate[;]/ and credit card number) of an individual person.

Someone commits an act willfully when he or she does it willingly or on purpose.

An unlawful purpose includes unlawfully (obtaining/ [or] attempting to obtain) (credit[,]/ [or] goods[,]/ [or] services[,]/ [or] medical information) in the name of the other person.

Bench Notes

Instructional Duty

The court has a sua sponte duty to give this instruction defining the elements of the crime.

In the definition of personal identifying information, give the relevant items based on the evidence presented.


Elements. Pen. Code, § 530.5(a).

Personal Identifying Information Defined. Pen. Code, § 530.5(b).

Secondary Sources

2 Witkin & Epstein, California Criminal Law (3d ed. 2000) Crimes Against Property, § 209.

6 Millman, Sevilla & Tarlow, California Criminal Defense Practice, Ch. 143, Crimes Against Property, § 143.01[1], [4][h] (Matthew Bender).

(New January 2006)