Has your credit been hurt because someone stole your identity? Take action and dispute those credit report errors today. You do not have to suffer because someone illegally used your credit.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, address, Social Security number (SSN), bank or credit card account number, or other identifying information without your knowledge to open accounts or commit fraud.
Identity thieves may use any number of low or high-tech methods to gain access to your personally identifying information. They obtain credit reports by abusing their employer’s authorized access to credit reports or by posing as a landlord, employer, or someone else who may have a legitimate need for and a legal right to the information. They rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or dumps in a practice known as “dumpster diving.” They obtain credit reports by abusing their employer’s authorized access to credit reports or by posing as a landlord, employer or someone else who may have a legitimate need for and a legal right to the information. They steal credit and debit card account numbers as your card is processed by using a special information storage device in a practice known as “skimming.” They steal wallets and purses containing identification and credit and bank cards. They steal mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, or tax information. They complete a “change of address form ” to divert mail to another location. They steal personal information from your home. They scam information from you by posing as a legitimate business person or government official.
Once identity thieves have your personal information, they may: Go on spending sprees using your credit and debit card account numbers to buy “big-ticket” items, like computers, that they can easily sell. Open a new credit card account, using your name, date of birth, and SSN. When they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Change the mailing address on your credit card account. The imposter then runs up charges on the account. Because the bills are being sent to the new address, it may take some time before you realize there’s a problem. Take out auto loans in your name. Establish phone or wireless service in your name. Counterfeit checks or debit cards, and drain your bank account. Open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on that account. File for bankruptcy under your name to avoid paying debts they’ve incurred, or to avoid eviction. Give your name to the police during an arrest. If they are released and don’t show up for their court date, an arrest warrant could be issued in your name.
Monitor the balances of your financial accounts. Look for unexplained charges or withdrawals. Other indications of identity theft include: failing to receive bills or other mail, which may signal an address change by the identity thief, receiving credit cards for which you did not apply, being denied credit for no apparent reason, or receiving calls or letters from debt collectors (like Portfolio Recovery Associates or Credit Collection Services) or businesses about merchandise or services you did not buy. Some of the signs mentioned above could be the result of a simple mistake, but you shouldn’t ignore these and just hope they will go away. Always follow up with the business or institution to find out exactly what is causing the situation.
To avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, there are certain preventative measures you can take.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act(FCRA) gives you specific rights when you are, or believe that you are, the victim of identity theft. Here is a brief summary of the rights designed to help you recover from identity theft.
An initial fraud alert stays in your file for at least 90 days. An extended alert stays in your file for seven years. To place either of these alerts, a consumer reporting agency will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number. We recommend that you file a reportwith your local, federal or state law enforcement agency (police department). This will show the credit bureaus, your creditors and others that you are very serious about your identity theft and will serve as back up documentation.
Please contact our office should you require assistance with any of the above or have questions, call 1-877-735-8600 to speak to an attorney or submit your questions via our contact us form.
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