Identity Theft

It is the job of the credit reporting agencies to maintain an accurate credit report for consumers. However, these agencies often rely on consumers like you to provide proper data and inform them of any errors. Identity theft is one of the most common sources of these errors. Having your identity stolen could result in poor marks on a credit report that decreases your overall rating, and forces you to pay thousands of extra dollars or even face legal action for a lack of payment.

Identity theft is an increasingly common problem facing consumers in today’s world of electronic information sharing. It is an extremely frustrating and often difficult process to correct. However, there are ways to fight back against identity theft and restore the damage done to your credit in the process, some things our talented consumer protection attorneys are experienced with. Speak with an identity theft lawyer now to learn more.

How Do I Know if I Have Been a Victim of Identity Theft?

While it may not always be easy to detect, there are common signs that you may have been a victim of identity theft. If you have experienced any of the following, it is possible that you have been a victim of identity theft:

  • Unknown credit accounts have shown up on your credit report
  • You have been receiving mail or pre-approved credit offers with someone else’s name at your home or office
  • Companies that you have not done business with or applied to for credit have been looking at your credit report
  • Debt collectors have started sending you collection notices for accounts you do not have
  • Your credit report lists an alias name or address that you have never used
  • You have received bills, statements, or other account information in the mail relating to accounts you didn’t open

Although these are indications that your identity may have been stolen, they are not conclusive that it has occurred. It is possible that any or all could have happened by mistake. While it seems that these types of errors should not be common among credit granters, sadly, they are, and it is possible that this is what happened in your case. Additionally, the credit reporting agencies regularly make credit reporting errors such as confusing consumers with one another, mixing and/or merging credit information inaccurately, and including credit accounts on the reports of consumers who have no connection to the account in question.

What is the Potential Impact of Identity Theft on a Person’s Finances?

Identity theft is always a serious matter. At a minimum, you should take steps to protect your finances and secure your personal data. Discovering a breach of security should immediately prompt you to change online passwords, locate your important personal documents, and even change phone numbers or email addresses in certain situations.

When identity theft has resulted in the supposed receipt of loan funds or property, learning of a breach can have much more disastrous consequences. The resulting errors on credit reports can make it difficult or impossible to secure new loans. Even if a lender is willing to extend an offer, it may be at a heightened interest rate.

Erroneous credit reports could also impact your ability to rent out a new apartment, start a new job, or even receive government benefits. The credit reporting agencies should immediately act when they receive notification of identity theft, but sadly they are often too slow to stop significant damage. As a result, an identity theft attorney is prepared to act on behalf of victims to seek out all appropriate compensation that stems from this incident.

Pursuing Legal Action Against All Parties Responsible for Identity Theft

A collection of parties may share responsibility for the financial consequences of identity theft. Talking with an identity theft victim lawyer could help you identify these parties and seek out fair remedies.

Civil and Criminal Liability for Perpetrators of Identity Theft

Identity theft is illegal under both federal law and the laws of all 50 states. Individuals who believe that they have been the victim of this activity should immediately contact law enforcement. Opening an identity theft case can make it easier and quicker to correct a credit report. In addition, if the police arrest someone and a court convicts them for this crime, it could help you attain fair compensation.

Civil lawsuits alleging fraud are valid against the perpetrators of identity theft and a conviction in criminal court is powerful evidence of fault in these lawsuits. An identity theft attorney is prepared to take the lead in these civil cases and to determine if the outcome of a criminal case will be useful in a demand for monetary compensation.

Demanding Compensation from Credit Reporting Companies

Identity theft can have a disastrous impact on your credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires the credit reporting agencies to identify errors on their reports and take appropriate action to fix them. However, failures at this level are common.

FCRA allows people who have endured a false credit report due to negligence or willful misconduct by the reporting agencies to demand compensation for their losses. This can include their actual damages or statutory awards based upon the reason for the error remaining on their report. Talking with an attorney could help you evaluate your financial losses due to an identity theft dispute and to determine if a credit reporting agency’s failures were a contributing factor to these experiences.

What Should I Do if I Believe I Have Been a Victim of Identity Theft?

If you have been or suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft, it is important not to sit back and hope it goes away. Identity theft can have devastating consequences and must be dealt with immediately. There are several different resources consumers may use for fighting identity theft, one of which is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA entitles consumers to a free annual credit report, as well as provides a method for placing a fraud block on your credit report. However, after reviewing your credit report, if you believe that you have been a victim of identity theft, it is critical that you speak to an attorney who understands the process for correcting and restoring your credit information. If this is the issue you are facing, contact us or another consumer attorney as soon as possible. You may send an email to our intake department here, or you may contact us by phone.

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