At a minimum, identity theft can result in marks on your credit report that make it difficult or impossible to obtain loans. Federal consumer protection laws impose certain obligations on creditors and credit reporting agencies in these instances.
A credit report dispute attorney can help if you need more accurate information about identity theft.
Identity Theft Lawsuits
The most damaging part of identity theft is the impact on one’s credit report. This information can affect the ability to rent an apartment, obtain a mortgage, or secure employment. Credit reporting lawyers at Blankingship & Christiano, P.C. will assist victims of identity theft in correcting their reports, filing police reports, and potentially suing for fair compensation.
A knowledgeable attorney can assist a client in understanding local, state, and federal laws on identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission must receive both a police report and an affidavit of identity theft. It will create a paper trail proving you were a victim and the fraudulent information was inaccurate.
Criminal courts focus on punishing the offender and are often ineffective at compensating victims of identity theft. Civil lawsuits are more effective at obtaining compensatory damages for the harm caused by a stolen ID. They may also offer an economic incentive to businesses like hotels, car dealerships, and shopping centers to improve their security measures.
Criminal Court Cases
Identity theft can result in erroneous information on credit reports, resulting in the inability to get loans for housing or education, take out a mortgage, obtain employment, or even receive government benefits. An attorney experienced in these cases can fight on your behalf to help you get fair compensation for the financial damage done by identity thieves.
For example, suppose an identity thief opens up new accounts in your name. In that case, you can ask a consumer reporting agency to block this information from being reported on your credit report. To do so, however, you must provide the company with proof of your identity and a police report in most instances.
Most criminal prosecutions involve the entire community and may result in harsh punishments like jail time. Contrarily, civil cases tend to be more narrowly focused on a single person or organization and frequently involve monetary penalties like fines or restitution.
As noted above, even a single instance of identity theft can significantly impact the victim’s credit report and their ability to open new lines of credit or obtain mortgages, car loans, jobs, and other opportunities. A lawyer familiar with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) may help victims of identity theft in their fight to have inaccurate information that was fraudulently obtained deleted from their credit reports and in their pursuit of financial compensation for the harm done.
Unlike criminal cases, where an indictment is required to begin a civil lawsuit, many identity theft cases proceed on a complaint basis. They can be settled without the need for a trial. Nevertheless, these complaints are often more complicated than standard consumer protection disputes and need the support of an experienced lawyer to prevail. If appropriate, a lawyer could negotiate settlements and ensure that the plaintiff receives all relevant documentation of their stolen identities to prove the harm they have suffered.
Your credit report contains information that lenders, landlords, insurance companies, employers, and utility companies use to make decisions about you. The information must be accurate. If it isn’t, the consequences can be devastating.
Typically, you can dispute the error with a credit reporting agency and request it be corrected. However, the agencies sometimes take your disputes seriously. You can also sue a consumer reporting agency or user of a consumer report for violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA).
For instance, the FCRA mandates that customers have the option of freezing their credit reports. It prevents people from opening accounts in their name without their permission. A lawyer can help you file an FCRA claim against a company that fails to comply with this requirement. It could lead to monetary compensation for you. It could also keep unauthorized people from accessing your credit report and possibly using the information to commit other crimes.