Address fraud

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Address fraud is a type of fraud in which the perpetrator uses an inaccurate or fictitious address in order to gain money or some other benefit or service to which s/he is not legally entitled, to commit some form of theft, or to hide one's location from authorities.[1] The crime may involve stating one's address as a place where s/he never lived, or continuing to use a previous address where one no longer lives as one's own.[2][3] Laws pertaining to these types of crimes vary by location.

One form of address fraud involves using one's old address as a current address to receive mail. It is committing by deliberately failing to report an address change and using the old address on legal documents.[4]

Another involves the representation of a communal mail box as one's own address where one resides in order to take advantage of benefits available to those residing in its location.[5]

Motives for address fraud[edit]

The crime is often associated with identity theft, taking place in about one-third of identity theft cases.[6]

Address fraud has been committed by parents attempting to get their children into a public school in a jurisdiction other than where they live. Public school systems generally require their students to live in the municipality by which they are operated, and giving this false information in order to attend the schools constitutes this crime.[7][8]

Address fraud has also been used by those voting in a jurisdiction other than their own.[9] A notable example is that of Ann Coulter, who was investigated for voting in the wrong precinct.[10]

Some drivers commit forms of address fraud in order to take advantage of lenient laws in a jurisdiction where they do not really live. For example, one may not qualify for a driver's license in his own state, but may qualify in another. The state of Tennessee is the only state without compulsory auto insurance, leading those who cannot afford or otherwise do not wish to have auto insurance to make themselves a fictitious address in Tennessee. Wisconsin also does not require auto insurance of its drivers, though no representation (itself fraudulent?) is made here as to whether people falsely use a Wisconsin address to obtain a license. Most states require obtaining their driver's license within a certain time period—for example, 60 days in Illinois—of establishing residency. Not having a local (state) license is itself an additional offense in the event of a traffic violation in one's home state.

Some wealthy people will set up their official address at a low rent location in a low tax jurisdiction to avoid paying taxes at a higher rate in the jurisdiction where they actually live. They will continue to be present most of the time in the place where they really wish to live but not pay taxes there.

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