What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft affects millions of consumers each year, but many often don’t realize that their identity has been stolen until they try to apply for a credit card or take out a loan. This can lead to many problems for the consumer whose identity has been hacked. Their credit report will show payments not being made for large purchases that they did not authorize. Some identity thieves have ways to prevent victims from finding the fraud for a long time, harming the victim even more.
How Does Identity Theft Happen?
Identity theft can happen a number of different ways, from remote access to credit cards and bank accounts to stealing credit or debit cards or even mail with critical information. Other identity thieves skim information from ATM’s or hack into personal computers and computers of the companies where business is conducted.
They may even steal records from their employer or use their employer’s access by posing as a landlord or someone with legitimate need for access to such information. Some identity thieves may bribe or con other employees out of information, or scam the consumer themselves by posing as a legitimate business person or government employee.
Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft
Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, consumers have protection, and there are many solutions to help them recover from identity theft. When errors are still uncorrected, victims can sue the credit bureaus to ensure the report gets corrected and to receive compensation.
When suing, it is highly beneficial for attorneys to assist consumers. Attorneys can dispute inaccurate information on the report caused by identity theft. Dealing with debt collectors that harass consumers for money they don’t owe is much easier with an attorney that knows what they are doing. Attorneys will also be able to assist identity theft victims with the removal of fraudulent accounts and information from the credit reports themselves.
Consumers have many rights when it comes to identity, both in preventing theft and in taking care of issues when identity theft does occur. They have the right to request that “fraud alerts” are placed in their files to let others know when they have been a victim of identity theft, thus making it more difficult for someone to get in.
HOW WE CAN HELP
The first step when your identity has been stolen is to prevent further damage to your credit. Our attorneys will investigate the identity theft, dispute inaccurate information, and may even be able to sue the parties responsible for any compensation you are due. We will help you recover any damages, punitive or other. The court must also award attorneys fees if you have in fact been harmed by the errors on your credit report.
You have the right to obtain any document that relates to fraudulent transactions or accounts that use your personal information, and creditors must give you copies of applications or records that resulted from the identity theft when you ask them in writing.
Debt collectors must provide you with information about the debts that you believe were made under your name by the identity thief. Our attorneys will ensure that you receive access to these documents, and take further action if needed.