Section 66C – Punishment for identity theft

May 15, 2012, by | Start Discussion


The term identity theft was coined in 1964. However, it is not literally possible to steal an identity so the term is usually interpreted with identity fraud or impersonation.

Identity Theft is a form of stealing someone's identity by pretending to be someone else typically in order to access resources or obtain credit and other benefits in that person's name.


  • The CEO of an identity theft protection company, Lifelock, Todd Davis's social security number was exposed by Matt Lauer on NBC’s Today Show. Davis’ identity was used to obtain a $500 cash advance loan.
  • Li Ming, a graduate student at West Chester University of Pennsylvania faked his own death, complete with a forged obituary in his local paper. Nine months later, Li attempted to obtain a new driver’s license with the intention of applying for new credit cards eventually.


Whoever, fraudulently or dishonestly makes use of the electronic signature, password or any other unique identification feature of any other person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine with may extend to rupees one lakh.


This section applies to cases where someone who dishonestly or fraudulently does the following –

  • makes use of electronic signature of any other person, or
  • makes use of password of any other person, or
  • makes use of any other unique identification feature of any other person.


Vivek and Rajan were business partners. Few months back they had a fight over some issues and then parted their ways. Vivek opened a new firm which into the same line of business as of Rajan. In next few months Vivek took over most of the Rajan’s clients.

Disgruntled by this, Rajan decided to take revenge. Rajan managed a fake ID proof and addresses proof in the name of Vivek and applied for a digital signature certificate. He then digitally signed documents and emails to enter into electronic contract on Vivek’s name and solicited his clients by presuming to be Vivek.
Rajan can be held liable under this section.

Acts covered
  1. dishonestly /fraudulently using someone’s electronic signature/password or any other unique identification feature
  2. dishonestly retaining stolen computer resource or communication device
Investigation authorities Police officer not below the rank of Inspector
Controller of Certifying Authorities or a person authorised by him
Relevant courts Judicial Magistrate First Class ->Court of Session
Cognizable/Bailable Yes/Yes

Sagar is a Law graduate. He is Head at Asian School of Cyber Laws(Maharashtra). He specializes in Cyber Law, Intellectual Property Law and Corporate Law. He teaches at numerous educational institutions across India.

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