Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes, effecting millions of Americans each year. The most common form of identity theft is the use of the victim’s personal identifying information to create false credit accounts or make bogus charges on existing accounts. More serious is the use of a victim’s information to electronically extract bank account funds. Banks, creditors and debt collectors often make the situation worse by ignoring claims of identity theft, even when the victim presents proof that they do not owe a debt or never authorized withdrawals.
The good news is that there are important legal rights available to victims of identity theft. These include requesting credit reporting freezes, reporting the theft to law enforcement, disputing unauthorized credit card charges and requiring collectors to provide proof that you actually owe an account, to name a few. Federal and Alabama law allows victims to sue for damages. If the theft leads to electronic theft of funds, a consumer may recover the lost funds from the bank if proper notice is given.
It’s important to know that your identity can be mixed with someone else’s even where no crime has been committed. This occurs when a credit bureau, bank or creditor mistakenly mixes your information with someone else’s. This is unfortunately very common and the results can be the same as if there was an actual theft: negative credit reporting of someone else’s debt and collection actions on debt you don’t owe. Federal law also provides protections in these situations.
If you believe you have been the victim of identity theft or that your credit information has been mixed with someone else’s, call us. For decades we have helped Alabama consumers get their identities and hard-earned credit back, and recover damages. Call us for a free consultation. We’ll explain the legal protections available for your specific situation and provide guidance on the best approach to solving the problem.