If you have become a victim of identity theft, we will help you to restore good reputation, name, credit rating and receive compensation for the damage done. Our attorneys at Cohen & Mizrahi work hard to hold identity thieves accountable and become the best identity theft lawyers in New York.
You should contact an identity theft attorney as soon as possible once you suspect that your identity has been stolen. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be for our attorneys to help you restore the damage done, be it financial or other.
WHAT IS IDENTITY THEFT
Each year, millions of people are affected by identity theft without even realizing it. They get to know it only once they decide to get a new credit card or take a loan.
The customer whose identity has been stolen finds himself at a high risk of facing numerous problems. For example, he might find out that his card has been used for big purchases that he did not authorize.
Sadly, some identity thieves know of ways to conceal the fraud from their victims for quite some time, increasing the damage done.
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, identity theft is defined as “a fraud committed or attempted using the identifying information of another person without authority.”
There are many types of identity theft, however, most of them fall into one of these six categories:
- Account takeover fraud
- New account fraud
- Business or commercial identity theft
- Criminal identity theft
- Medical identity theft
- Identity cloning
In an account takeover fraud, an individual gains access to an existing account that doesn’t belong to him and performs unauthorized transactions, like paying with somebody else’s credit card. He might change personal information.
New account fraud happens when an individual uses personal information of other individual that has a good credit rating to open a new account. These can be cell phone, utility, bank, credit card accounts.
Business or commercial identity theft occurs when an individual uses an existing business’s name to bill that business’s clients or obtain credit.
Criminal identity theft happens when an individual identifies himself as another person while getting arrested.
When an individual uses other individual’s personal and insurance information to obtain medical services, care, treatment or drugs, medical identity theft takes place.
Identity cloning combines all forms of identity theft. An individual literally takes over another person’s life. He works, pays bills, engages, marries and does crime under his victim’s name.
HOW IDENTITY THEFT HAPPENS
There are many ways of how identity theft can take place. The most common are:
- credit or debit card theft,
- credit card or bank account remote access,
- automated teller machine or computer hacking,
- mail or employer records theft.
Some thieves go as far as to pretend to be landlords, government employees, business persons or other workers that might have a legitimate need to access information that will prove to be useful for their goals.
PROTECT YOURSELF FROM IDENTITY THEFT
Consumers are protected by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) that assists them in many ways in recovering from identity theft.
If error correction is delayed, credit bureau can be sued by victim in order to claim compensation and to make sure credit report gets revised.
Consumer benefits greatly from attorney assistance when he needs to sue credit bureau.
Once identity theft leads to incorrect information in the credit report, attorneys can help to dispute it.
Experienced attorney is of great assistance when consumer is getting harassed by debt collectors for money he didn’t loan.
Same goes for helping an identity theft victim to remove fraudulent account and inaccurate information from credit report.
FCRA helps consumers to both solve problems caused by identity theft and prevent it from happening in the first place. For example, once consumer becomes an identity theft victim, he is able to request “fraud alert” to be placed in his files. This will surely cause some trouble to a thief.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Once identity theft has taken place, the most important thing that should be done is prevention of further damage.
Coping with consequences of identity theft alone is not an easy task, be it credit score issues, reputation damage or reclaiming stolen money.
Our attorneys will help you with:
- suing the parties to claim your compensation
- investigation of identity theft
- misinformation dispute
- recovering punitive and other kinds of damage
Once it is confirmed that you have actually sustained damage from credit report errors, attorneys must be awarded fees by the court.
Our ID theft lawyers in NYC will greatly assist you even in the cases where the police would be of no use.
Cohen & Mizrahi attorneys deal with top experts of different fields (e.g., forensic accountants, private investigators), which provides great assistance in identifying and locating identity thieves.
Our attorneys can help you to determine whether a third party can or can not be held liable, based on your case details, be it information you have provided yourself or the one our experts compiled.
You will receive compensation upon successful closure of identity theft case, be it recovering of financial losses, restoring reputation or undoing damage done to credit rating.
Consumer is obligated to receive all the documents related to transactions and accounts that use his personal information. You should be provided with information about debts that you think have been incurred by identity thief by debt collectors themselves.
It’s your right to receive records and application copies from creditors once you ask for them in written form.
You will be provided with access to this documentation by our lawyers for identity theft victims in New York.
Identifying the thief gets more and more complicated as identity theft grows popular, up to the point where victim can’t even take a judicial recourse.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR IDENTITY HAS BEEN STOLEN
First things first, seek assistance of experienced attorney. He will inform you about your legal rights when dealing with identity theft.
Secondly, you must report to the fraud department of each major credit bureau immediately (e.g., Equifax at equifax.com, TransUnion at transunion.com, Experian at experian.com).
After that, hey should apply “fraud alert” to your credit report.
You should also ask them for copies of your credit report to closely examine it for new charges and accounts.
Request creditors to always contact you prior to opening new accounts or changing the ones that already exist.
Thirdly, you should again turn to the fraud department, but this time of your creditors.
Do it for every credit account you have, be it cell phone, cable TV, credit card or any other utility provider.
It doesn’t matter if you think that particular account has not been compromised – close each and every one of them. Each open account should be marked with “fraud alert” by credit bureaus.
If the company accepts it, use Identity Theft Affidavit provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report unauthorized or new accounts opened with your information.
All the conversations with fraud departments must be recorded. You should keep written records and provide written confirmations verified by documents after your phone calls are over to prove your claims.
Fourthly, get in touch with your banking companies and financial institutions.
You should immediately contact your banking company or credit union and tell them to stop payments when you suspect that your checks might have been stolen or used.
Get in touch with major companies that provide check verification services – TeleCheck, Cetergy Inc., International Check Services.
They should tell retailers using their data to neglect your checks as they have been stolen.
It is very important to regularly look into your credit report for any suspicious activity.
You should immediately contact your credit card company if you suspect that your personal information has been stolen.
First and foremost, the credit card company will help you determine whether the theft took place or not. If it did, the company can eliminate unauthorized charges and then block your account to prevent further damage and expenses.
If your card has been lost, the company can then simply issue you a new one.
Finally, you should contact law enforcement officials to report identity theft.
File a report, add relevant documents (e.g. credit report, debt collection letters, Identity Theft Affidavit), get a case number for it and keep it.
You should also ask the police for a copy of their report, as your creditor might need it for removal of fraudulent debt.
Common business policies lead to having little to no physical evidence of identity theft once it has taken place, making such cases very difficult to prove.
The business in question may simply not be able to collect the evidence required (e.g., receipt, surveillance), while physical contact with identity thief may not have taken place at all.
An experienced attorney will not get in the way, but only complement government investigation, so you should never hesitate to get in touch with one and seek his help.
Many attorneys possess resources and communications that police and government workers do not (or do not want to use). You will greatly increase chances of catching the thief and recovering compensation by combining government investigation with our attorneys’ help.
WHOM AND WHAT SHOULD YOU SUE FOR
The lawsuit should be brought against the individual that has stolen your identity. Nevertheless, in many cases identifying or finding the thief himself proves impossible. This enables victim to bring an action against other party.
These are the parties that have had access to your personal information when identity theft took place – bank companies, employers, financial institutions, government entities, creditors.
Relationship between the defending party and thief himself are going to define the type of liability.
Due to the fact that identity can be stolen in different ways, the type of identity theft and its circumstances are going to determine the type of action you will bring.
Possible causes of action are negligence, invasion of privacy, publication of private facts, breach of fiduciary duty, infliction of emotional distress, breach of contract etc.
It is very important to provide an attorney with as many details as you can the moment you report identity theft.
Do not overlook the facts you consider the least important, as any of them can enable you to bring an action.
The type of compensation a victim can count on varies depending on defendant intended, number of parties involved, nature and extent of injuries and the cause of action.
The types of compensation include:
- Punitive damages (e.g., personal information of the victim has been exposed)
- Compensatory damages (e.g., theft has caused financial loss)
- Emotional damages (e.g., theft has caused emotional suffering)
- Injunctive relief (e.g., the victim is set free of debts it didn’t make)
To learn which compensation you should expect in your case, contact our identity theft victim lawyer in New York City.
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