Identity theft is a serious crime that can cost you money, time, and a lot of stress. And it can be complicated to resolve, especially if you need help figuring out where to start.
A credit reporting lawyer can help you deal with creditors and the CRAs that maintain your credit reports. We can also pursue compensation for your losses.
Your Credit Reporting Lawyer Will Help You
When identity theft occurs, it can lead to a series of legal issues. These include dealing with damaged credit, filing debt collection lawsuits, and preparing police reports.
Typically, these cases require the assistance of an attorney from a reputable firm such as Blankingship & Christiano, P.C. Your attorney will draft your dispute letters and help you get the proper documentation to prove your case.
Your attorney can also negotiate with creditor companies and file collection suits to help you resolve your case. They can also represent you in civil court litigation against credit reporting agencies for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
If your credit reporting agency fails to correct or remove incorrect items, you can sue them under federal law. Depending on the violation, you may be able to recover actual damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees.
Disputes with Credit Reporting Agencies
If you find an error on your credit report that needs to be corrected, you can dispute the information with one or more credit reporting agencies.
A dispute letter should explain what you are disputing and why; it should be sent via certified mail (return receipt requested). You should also include copies of documents showing the disputed information’s accuracy.
The credit bureaus must investigate your dispute and tell you their results within 30 days of receipt, including if it’s found to be frivolous. They must also provide you with a free copy of your credit report if the dispute results in an update or removal of information on your account.
If you are still waiting to receive a response from the credit bureaus within this time, consider filing a lawsuit against them. The law allows you to recover actual damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, and court costs if the credit agency violated your rights.
Disputes with Creditors
If you suspect a thief has used your stolen identity to commit fraud or steal money from your bank account, you should immediately contact the credit card company to dispute the charges. Doing this is an excellent way to ensure you won’t be charged for additional fraudulent activity, even if the thief has been removed from your file and your account is reactivated.
You should also call any other creditor, such as a mortgage company or department store that has opened new accounts in your name, to tell them that you are an identity theft victim and ask them not to hold you responsible for the new charges. Some police departments will provide you with forms to request account information from creditors or utility companies.
The most important thing to remember is that disputing a suspicious account or charge should always be done in writing and by certified mail. This is because federal law requires that the disputed amount be removed from your statement.
Resolving Your Case
Identity theft is an increasingly common crime. And when it happens, it can take a significant toll on your credit.
Fortunately, there are laws to help protect you. Specifically, the Fair Credit Reporting Act and FACTA allow you to dispute inaccurate information on your credit reports.
Your credit reporting lawyer can help you with this process to get your name back on track as soon as possible. They can also assist you in obtaining monetary damages, such as actual damages, statutory damages, punitive damages, court costs, and attorneys’ fees.
The FTC has also developed and disseminated many resources to help you with your case. These include a victim resource packet and fact sheets.