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Incidents of stolen identities have become common over the years, especially with ease of access to technology. Not only it is a heinous crime, but it can be an extremely upsetting experience for the victims as well. In such a situation, it is imperative to seek legal justice and compensation. A San Diego County identity theft lawyer will make the legal procedures easy for you as they will file police reports, communicate with credit bureaus and creditors, strive for civil litigation as your representative, and most importantly, give you tailored advice. If you’re a victim of identity theft, read on and reach out to our lawyers to learn more about how we can assist you.

How an Identity Theft Attorney Helps ID Fraud Victims

The journey of seeking legal assistance when you are a victim of ID fraud becomes uncomplicated and facile if you have a proficient attorney as your representative. Above all, they fight to restore your identity, make legal procedures less challenging by filing police reports, dealing with a financial institution, and resolving disputes as your representative.

How Identity Theft Could Impact Your Life in California

Identity theft crimes whether in California or any other part of the US can have detrimental effects and dire consequences on your life. Whether an identity thief incurs fraudulent debt, without your consent, or it’s medical identity theft, such crimes can cause immense damage to your position in society, onerous legalities and lead to significant financial losses. Since these thefts can negatively impact your reputation, you may experience difficulties in securing employment and cleaning up your credit report. ID thefts can take a terrible toll on your physical and mental health, as well as your personal and professional relationships.

Though it is essential to take legal action and clear your name if you are a victim of identity theft in California, the entire process can be arduous and time-consuming.

Common Reasons People Steal Other’s Identities

Most of the crimes in the world are driven by financial gains and the reasons behind identity theft crimes are no different. Such crimes are also committed for malicious purposes to gain an advantage in today’s high-tech world. We discuss some of the reasons behind why people commit this crime.

  1. Financial Gain: One of the primary motives is financial profit. Criminals use stolen identities to make unauthorized purchases, open fraudulent bank accounts, apply for credit cards or loans, and engage in other activities that lead to monetary gain.
  2. Fraudulent Activities: Often associated with various forms of fraud identity theft include insurance, tax, and healthcare fraud.
  3. Access to Resources: A stolen identity may be used to gain access to resources or benefits that the thief wouldn’t otherwise be entitled to. This could include government assistance programs or social security benefits.
  4. Cyber Espionage: In cases of corporate or state-sponsored cyber espionage, attackers may seek to steal the identities of individuals with access to sensitive information or systems. This can be part of a larger effort to gain unauthorized access to classified or proprietary data.
  5. Reputation Damage: This kind of crime is motivated by a desire to damage the reputation of the victim. This often occurs as a result of the information appearing on an individual’s background checks.

What is Identity Theft and How Does it Happen?

When a person’s personally identifying information is stolen and used for fraudulent and criminal purposes, they become an identity theft victim. Details like an individual’s name, social security number, bank information, and credit card numbers are sensitive data and prone to such a crime.

Perpetrators often use stolen information to make new accounts, commit financial fraud, make unauthorized purchases, open new credit and bank accounts, or engage in activities that can cause financial harm. This can have severe consequences resulting in financial losses, damage to credit scores, and a significant amount of time and effort spent resolving the issues.

Perpetrators use different techniques to steal identities. The most common ones are:

  1. Phishing: Cybercriminals and identity thieves often use phishing emails or messages that appear to be from legitimate sources, for example, banks or government agencies. These messages contain links to fake websites that mimic the real ones and trick individuals into entering their personal information.
  2. Data Breaches: Data breaches on a large scale occur when hackers get unauthorized access to databases containing personal information. This happens to organizations that store sensitive data. The stolen data may be sold on the dark web.
  3. Skimming: Thieves use skimming devices to capture information from credit cards. These devices are discreetly placed on ATMs and other credit card readers. When a credit card is swiped, the skimmer captures the credit card details for later use.
  4. Mail Theft: Thieves may steal mail to gain access to bank statements credit card statements, or tax documents. This information can be used to open a bank account.
  5. Impersonation: In some cases, individuals may physically impersonate someone to gain access to their personal information for material benefit (like opening new accounts) or reputational damage.

The Three Major Credit Bureaus and the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law in the United States that regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer credit information. Enacted to ensure accuracy and privacy in the reporting of consumer credit information, the FCRA imposes certain responsibilities on credit reporting agencies, including the three major credit bureaus which are Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

The above-mentioned credit bureaus play a significant role in the industry. They collect and maintain credit information on millions of consumers, provide credit reports and credit scores, and offer multiple credit monitoring and identity protection services.

What are the consequences of identity theft?

There are devastating and wide-ranging consequences for the victims of these identity theft cases, which impact their personal and financial lives.

  1. Reputational Damage: The biggest damage done as a result of identity theft crime is that an individual’s reputation is tarnished. The process of clearing one’s name and coming out clean can be challenging.
  2. Financial Losses and Debt Accumulation: Financial losses occur, and debts are incurred for a victim when identity thieves open new credit accounts or engage in other fraudulent financial activities.
  3. Criminal Convictions: In some cases, victims may face legal problems including being wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the identity thief. If your identity has been stolen and used to plead guilty to a crime, its important to notify law enforcement officials.
  4. Emotional Distress: A victim of identity theft may experience feelings of violation and stress as they navigate the process of resolving the situation. Furthermore, the whole unfortunate situation can put a strain on their relationships.
  5. Difficulty Obtaining Loans or Housing: A sabotaged credit history makes it challenging for victims to secure loans, mortgages, or rental agreements.

Ways You Can Help Prevent Identity Theft

As they rightly say, prevention is better than cure, it is mandatory to take proactive measures beforehand in order to safeguard your personal information. By taking these adequate measures, you can minimize the risk of unauthorized access to identifying information. Don’t have your identity stolen!

  1. Educate Yourself: The primary step is to stay informed and be well aware of common scams and tactics used by an identity thief.
  2. Secure Personal Documents and Shred Sensitive Documents: You must keep important documents such as Social Security cards, passports, and financial statements in a safe place like a lockbox. Simultaneously, to prevent “dumpster diving”, before disposing of any sensitive document it is better to shred it.
  3. Protect Your Social Security Number: It is advised not to carry your social security card everywhere and to avoid sharing the Social Security number. If asked for, confirm the legitimacy of the request before proceeding.
  4. Use Strong Passwords: Your online presence must be secured by unique passwords using a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters. Also, enable the two-factor authentication.
  5. Check Your Credit Reports: You can obtain free annual credit reports from each of the major credit bureaus through and review them for inaccuracies.
  6. Be Wary of Phishing Attempts: Be cautious about unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls requesting personal information. Avoid clicking on links or providing information unless you are certain of the sender’s legitimacy.

How Identity Theft Lawyers Can Help You

If you have been a victim of identity fraud or theft crime and are considering taking legal action, then you are about to make a well-informed decision since identity theft attorneys play a crucial role in helping victims become free of allegations.

A well-qualified and experienced identity theft attorney will explain your legal rights, potential courses of action, and legal implications and they will provide you with tailored legal advice. In addition to this, the attorney will be of great help during the necessary legal documentation process.

Identity theft lawyers help in communicating with creditors and financial institutions to dispute fraudulent transactions as well as accounts. Oftentimes a victims of identity theft have their credit report damaged due to fraudulent debts reported by debt collectors or other financial institutions, such as a credit card company. Attorneys can help to dispute inaccuracies on the credit report, place fraud alerts, request credit freezes to prevent further unauthorized activity, and recover stolen money.

Furthermore, a learned and brilliant lawyer will fight through the process of an individual’s identity restoration, and lawyers may pursue civil litigation on their behalf to protect consumers and seek compensation.

What to do after your identity has been stolen?

In case of a stolen identity, it is crucial that you take immediate action to minimize the potential damage. Follow these steps if you believe that you are a victim of identity theft.

Chiefly, you must file a report with your local law enforcement agency and provide them with as much detail as possible about the identity theft. You can also file an identity theft affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission. The next thing is to place a fraud alert with any of the three major credit bureaus and reporting agencies and request a copy of your credit report to check for credit report errors. This will not allow the thief to obtain credit.

Lastly, it is advised to keep a check on your accounts for any inaccuracy and contact the Federal Trade Commission for further guidance.

You can prevent fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives the right to place a fraud alert on your credit report and prevents businesses from reporting your information to consumer reporting agencies.

The first action that you must take is to contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies that we have discussed above. It is important for businesses to verify their identity before someone applies to obtain credit and issue a loan.

Furthermore, you have the right to place a credit freeze on your credit report as this will make opening new credit card accounts laborious for thieves. Also, the fraud alert and credit freeze can be extended up to 7 years.

If you find any suspicious or fraudulent activity on utility accounts, then these steps must be taken timely and reported to the agencies.

What Information Will Your Identity Theft Lawyer Need from You?

Identity theft victims trying to seek assistance from an identity theft attorney should provide them with specific information. The list below mentions the possible pieces of information that an identity theft attorney can ask for.

  • Incident Details:
    • A detailed account of the incident, including details of what financial accounts have been fraudulently opened or reported on your credit report.
    • When you first noticed the theft and how it came to your attention.
  • Documentation:
    • Documentation related to the theft, for example, letters, emails, or other communications from creditors or debt collectors. Plus, the copies of any fraudulent applications or accounts opened in your name.
  • Police Report:
    • Provide a copy if you’ve filed a police report.
  • Credit Reports:
    • Copies of your credit reports that show the fraudulent accounts or activity.
    • Any communication you’ve had with credit reporting agencies regarding the identity theft.
  • Financial Records:
    • Bank statements and records of any unauthorized transactions.
    • Documentation of any financial losses incurred as a result of the identity theft.
    • Communications with the bank’s fraud department.
  • Identity Verification:
    • Any information that can help verify your identity such as a copy of your driver’s license or passport which proves that you are the victim.
  • Communication with Creditors:
    • Details of any communication you’ve had with creditors or financial institutions.
    • Correspondence demonstrating your efforts to dispute fraudulent accounts or transactions.

When You Need a Team of Identity Theft Lawyers, Trust Barthel Legal, APC

If you have your identity stolen and are considering taking legal action, then you should make a wise decision and contact the law firm Barthel Legal, APC. They will help you navigate through the legal complications and clear your name.

Their accomplished identity theft attorneys will explain your legal rights, and possible courses of action, and they will give you suitable legal advice. Furthermore, the identity theft lawyers here at Barthel Legal will prove to be reliable legal representatives as they will fight for your identity restoration and seek compensation for the harm that you have suffered.