1-539.2C. Damages for identity theft.

(a) Any person whose property or person is injured by reason of an act made unlawful by Article 19C of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, or a violation of G.S. 75-66, may sue for civil damages. For each unlawful act, or each violation of G.S. 75-66, damages may be

(1) In an amount of up to five thousand dollars ($5,000), but no less than five hundred dollars ($500.00), or

(2) Three times the amount of actual damages,

whichever amount is greater. A person seeking damages as set forth in this section may also institute a civil action to enjoin and restrain future acts that would constitute a violation of this section. The court, in an action brought under this section, may award reasonable attorneys' fees to the prevailing party.

(b) If the identifying information of a deceased person is used in a manner made unlawful by Article 19C of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, or by a violation of G.S. 75-66, the deceased person's estate shall have the right to recover damages pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(c) The venue for any civil action brought under this section shall be the county in which the plaintiff resides or any county in which any part of the alleged violation of G.S. 75-66, G.S. 14-113.20 or G.S. 14-113.20A took place, regardless of whether the defendant was ever actually present in that county. Civil actions under this section must be brought within three years from the date on which the identity of the wrongdoer was discovered or reasonably should have been discovered.

(d) Civil action under this section does not depend on whether or not a criminal prosecution has been or will be instituted under Article 19C of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes for the acts which are the subject of the civil action. The rights and remedies provided by this section are in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law. (2002-175, s. 8; 2005-414, s. 9; 2007-534, s. 3.)