Helping Identity Theft Victims in New Jersey, New York, and Nationwide
Identity theft can have a devastating impact on your life. An identity thief can:
- destroy your credit rating,
- trigger collection of debts you didn’t know existed,
- steal your life savings, and
- make it difficult or impossible to obtain financing for a home, car, or other important purchase.
An identity theft attorney can help restore your credit and recover your peace of mind.
How Common is Identity Theft?
Unfortunately, identity theft is a widespread and growing problem. According to the 2021 Identity Fraud Report from Javelin Strategy & Research, almost 50 million consumers fell victim to identity thieves in 2020. Also, over two-thirds of the victims were unhappy with the resolution they received from their financial institution.
In 2020 alone, identity fraud resulted in aggregate losses of about $56 billion while victims spent millions of hours resolving identity theft issues.
Federal laws protect victims of identity theft, but these cases are complex. Many lawyers simply do not have the knowledge and experience necessary to effectively litigate an ID theft case. The attorneys at Schlanger Law Group LLP have extensive experience litigating consumer protection matters, and regularly handle identity theft cases.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft occurs any time someone fraudulently uses another person’s identity. Some common types of ID theft include:
- Opening credit card accounts or taking out loans using another person’s identifying information,
- Capturing credit or debit card information to make purchases or obtain cash, and
- Gaining access to and taking over financial accounts that allow access to cash or credit.
If you believe your personal information has been stolen, you should contact an identity fraud lawyer as soon as possible to reduce your losses and protect your legal rights.
How Does ID Theft Occur?
As security measures evolve, identity thieves become more resourceful and find new ways to steal your personal information.
Most people know their personal information can be stolen when a company has a data security breach. Likewise, you may have heard stories about skimmer machines attached to ATMs and gas pumps that capture credit and debit card information directly from your card when you insert it.
However, you may be surprised to learn that trusted friends and family members are responsible for a significant percentage of identity theft. With easy access to personal information, a bitter ex-spouse or even a struggling parent can succumb to financial temptation.
Protecting Your Personal Information From Identity Thieves Requires Careful Monitoring
The most powerful way to protect yourself from ID theft is early discovery. The sooner you realize that your identity has been stolen, the greater your chances of containing the problem and avoiding serious damage.
Ironically, consumers who are very cautious about disclosing their personal information often have greater risk. Those who prefer to do business and shop offline usually take the longest amount of time to discovery ID theft.
People who avoid e-commerce transactions, online banking, social networking, and other “risky” behaviors take an average of 40 days to realize their identities have been stolen. In contrast, 78% of online shoppers notice suspicious activity within one week.
Whether you stick to paper transactions or are an active e-commerce shopper conducting extensive business online, take these steps to protect against exposing your personal information:
- Carefully guard your personal financial information. Be particular about which sites you enter credit card information and shred paper bank statements before throwing them away.
- Monitor your bank and credit card statements for suspicious activity. Act quickly when you find an error or unauthorized transaction.
- Regularly review your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus – Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Immediately investigate any questionable entries. You can also request a free copy of your credit reports every year at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Ensure that any computer or mobile device you use to conduct personal or financial business is secure.
- Be cautious about providing personal information such as your birth date or Social Security number online or over the phone.
- Be aware of debt collection and telemarketing scams. Never give your bank account or credit card information to a stranger who telephones you.
Consumer Protection Laws That Apply to ID Theft Situations
Identity theft victims may struggle for years to clear their credit history. Too often, creditors and credit bureaus won’t cooperate, leaving the consumer powerless and victimized again.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) imposes significant obligations on both credit reporting agencies and creditors that furnish information to credit bureaus. Both have a responsibility to ensure that the information they report is accurate, and to investigate and make corrections when a consumer files a dispute. However, they often fail to follow the law.
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) is another critical tool for fighting identity theft. The FDCPA provides powerful remedies in wrongful collection actions including unfair and deceptive collection practices that often arise in identity theft cases.
Also, if your situation involves transfers or withdrawals of money by electronic methods, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act may also protect you and limit the amount of money you might lose.
Turn to a Consumer Protection Lawyer at Schlanger Law Group if You are Facing the Nightmare of ID Theft
Schlanger Law Group has extensive experience challenging creditors, debt buyers, third-party debt collectors, and credit reporting agencies that violate consumer protection statutes. When these companies repeatedly break the rules, we also protect large groups of consumers through class-action lawsuits.
We are fully prepared to file a lawsuit under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and other relevant consumer protection statutes.
You may be entitled to monetary damages in addition to a corrected credit report. Under many consumer protection laws, if a creditor or credit reporting agency violates the act, they will also be responsible for paying your attorney fees and costs.
If you have more questions about ID theft, take a look at our frequently asked consumer law questions. Or, for more specific information about your situation, click the green box below to schedule a free consultation.
Talk to an Experienced Identity Theft Lawyer at Schlanger Law Group
When your financial reputation, your credit rating, your access to financing, and your bank balances are on the line, you need an advocate you can trust. With our free case consultation, you have nothing to lose. Call (212) 500-6114 or click below to complete our simple contact form.
Schlanger Law Group LLP serves clients in New Jersey, New York, and throughout the United States with consumer protection, class action, credit reporting, and identity theft issues.