Identity Theft

It won’t happen to me…..I have been a victim of identity theft!! HELP!!! What do I do?

SCENERIOS

Oh No!! SOMEONE HAS USED MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO DRAW UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. Why does this matter? Well the benefits won’t be there when if you need to use them. Your taxes will be higher because someone drew unemployment on your social security number and of course you didn’t report the extra income. There will be tax penalties. You may have to hire an attorney and appeal the tax assessment with the IRS and may even have to go all the way through Tax Court. ( This is a common problem.)

Oh No!! You are getting sued for a car you never bought that was repossessed. But I never even lived in Florida. Boy I wish I had that Camaro they said I had that now they say they have repossessed. Even worse… They already took a judgment against you for your failure to appear in court after they said they served you. It’s a two-year-old debt. It’s on your credit report. You have a trade line problem on your credit report in that your credit scores are low because the thief never made a payment and it’s been reported late for two years. You have to hire an attorney to get it set aside. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to spend time defending something you didn’t do.  What about proving another man at your company used your name. You are put in the position of having to get the judgment set aside on a technicality. You would have a really hard time proving it was not you without documentation that was created by someone else.

Oh No!! There are unauthorized charges on your credit card. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to monitor your credit card to get the charges reversed. You have to put an identity theft freeze on your credit reports. You might have late fees, or over limit fees you have to get reversed. This is more common than you think. That cute waitress wrote down your credit card information and bought herself some shoes. That person you ordered something from off of the internet used your card information to take a trip to Las Vegas. Oh yeah and what you ordered never came.  Now you have to prove that you never went to Las Vegas and dispute the charges on the credit card.  We represented a man who’s girlfriend had stolen his identity. The legal expenses of getting his credit cleared up cost him $2,200.00 and that did not include attorney fees.

Oh No!! You are getting calls from collection agencies for payday loans you didn’t authorize. You are being called day and night. They are threatening to put you in jail. They are threatening to sue you. The calls are unrelenting. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to monitor your credit card to get the charges reversed. You have to put an identity theft freeze on your credit reports. You might have late fees, or over limit fees you have to get reversed. You have to hire a lawyer.

Oh No!! You receive a doctor bill and you didn’t go to that doctor. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to monitor your reports to make sure these fees are removed. You have to put an identity theft freeze on your credit reports. You might have late fees, or over limit fees you have to get reversed. You have to prove it wasn’t you that got the medical care.

Oh No!! You didn’t buy that house and it foreclosed. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to monitor your credit report to get the fees, and get the foreclosure fees and charges reversed. You have to put an identity theft freeze on your credit reports. You might have late fees, or over limit fees you have to get reversed. You have to hire a lawyer to get that foreclosure off your credit report.

Oh No!!! You just got arrested for a ticket you didn’t get. Worse. You got put in jail for a failure to appear for a theft charge and you didn’t steal anything. You have been strip searched. You sat in jail two days until you got to call an attorney. You lost your job because you missed work. You can’t get another job because you are awaiting charges you didn’t commit. You have to pay an attorney to now represent you as a man accused of a theft he didn’t commit. Worse. You get picked up on a failure to appear because someone used your name. You have already been convicted. You are in jail trying to prove you were not the man who did what you have now been convicted of doing. This is not an issue of getting a bond set and awaiting trial. This is an issue of you are locked up and cannot get out of jail.

Oh NO!! You are called by someone and they sound official.  They say you won a prize.  They sound like someone you know.  It sounds like someone you applied for a lottery with.  They are trying to get information possibly to scam your identity from  or at the very least scam you out of money.  Do not give them any information.  Do not give them bank account information to deposit your winnings or prizes in.  Tell them they can send you a check and if its good and its been six months you will send them their taxes.  Tell them that’s if your accountant and lawyer okay it. You pay taxes once a year.  Tell them to send it to a western union office or  somewhere you can pick it up unless you really want them knowing where you live.  They might tell you someone you know is stuck in another country and lost all their money.  Ask that person’s family if this is true.  No government office is going to ask you to wire money.    Remember tell your friends.  Tell your family.  Pass this along for them to read.  Warn your children.  We live in a world where you have to protect yourself every day as someone out there wants to scam YOU!  Report this to the FTC 1-877-FTC-Help.  File a complaint.  ftc.gov/complaint.

What are you going to do?

In all cases of identity theft – Act Quickly!

  1. Report it to the FTC at 1-877-FTC-Help and go online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-2 and create an identity theft report and use it for making a police report and give a copy of it to anyone that the thief has used your identity with.
  2. Hire a lawyer.
  3. Order all three credit reports. You can get them free from www.annualcreditreport.com
  4. If something is reported on your credit that is not yours you will have to take several steps to remove it from your credit report. http://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
  5. Call and write the major credit bureaus and place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.                                                                                                                                    a. Equifax: www.equifax.com 1-800-525-6285, PO Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374 https://www.freeze.equifax.com https://www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online/jsp/fraudAlert.jsp                                   b. Experian: www.experian.com  1-888-397-3742, PO Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013 https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html                                                                        c.  Transunion: www.transunion.com 1-800-680-7289, PO Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634 https://dispute.transunion.com
  6. Challenge everything on your credit reports and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up and make sure it gets removed and does not reappear.
  7. Place a security freeze to limit third parties from accessing your account. You will have to lift each freeze temporarily each time a freeze lift is requested. There may be charges associated with placing and lifting these freezes.
  8. Contact the state or federal agency involved with the theft. If your driver’s license is stolen, take the police report to the Driver’s License Bureau, get another driver’s license, and ask them flag it. Okay this just took 3 hours out of your day and you had to pay to get another driver’s license. You have to now prove you are you and for some people without a driver’s license this might be difficult.
  9. If your credit cards are stolen report them and have your cards flagged as stolen or lost card report. Have your credit card companies issue you new cards.
  10. Notify your banks.
  11. Keep a log of all phone call conversations with whom you spoke at each business, dates and phone numbers and the substance of the conversation.
  12. Send every document you send certified mail return receipt requested and keep copies.
  13. Email copies to yourself of what you submit online.
  14. Make an identity theft police report. Get the report number when you make the report. Get a copy.
  15. If money came out of your account you didn’t authorize put in writing immediately to the bank a request to reverse the charges. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

SAMPLE LETTERS

  1. Here are sample letters to get the credit bureaus to remove the fraudulent information from your credit report.http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0284-ask-credit-reporting-companies-remove-fraudulent-errors-your-credit-report
  2. Sample letters to get copies of the documents the thief used. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0288-get-copies-documents-identity-thief-used
  3. Sample letters to stop collection calls from a debt collector. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0289-stop-calls-and-letters-debt-collector

DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

  1. https://www.donotcall.gov/ You can go here and register your phone number so you will not receive unwanted solicitation calls. You can go here and submit a complaint for unwanted calls if they continue after you have them placed on the Do Not Call Registry. https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx
  2. Video of what to do if your identity has been stolen. http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/victim-of-id-theft-now-what.page
  3. Follow Up. Follow Up. Follow Up. Keep a check on your credit reports to look for new charges. Keep a close check on your bank accounts for charges that you did not create.
  4. When contesting charges on your credit report follow-up all phone calls with certified letters. Make sure you provide very specific information to dispute charges. Write a letter stating the account is in error.   In this letter state the name of the company, the account number, why you believe the company made the error, what you want done, that you want a follow-up letter from them with the action they took and with what codes they assigned.   Put your name, address, telephone number, social security number, and date of birth in the letter.   Attach additional documents to the dispute. Attach a copy of the document that is wrong and a copy of your driver’s license with a copy of a utility bill that shows the correct address.  You also want to send a demand to the collection agency to correct the information.
  5. Immediately notify your bank if your identity theft was the result of a stolen debit card. The bank can’t hold you responsible for any unauthorized transactions or $50.00 whichever is less. If you wait more than 60 days after issuance of the bank statement you could have to pay the full amount of the transactions. Report your debit card stolen within 2 days so your loss is limited to $50.00. Your bank has 10-20 business days to investigate and report its findings to you. Make sure you put this request in writing so they have to respond within 10 days.
  6. UCC§ 4-401. “WHEN BANK MAY CHARGE CUSTOMER’s ACCOUNT. (a) A bank may charge against the account of a customer an item that is properly payable from that account even though the charge creates an overdraft. An item is properly payable if it is authorized by the customer and is in accordance with any agreement between the customer and bank. (b) A customer is not liable for the amount of an overdraft if the customer neither signed the item nor benefited from the proceeds of the item.”

Really Legal stuff….. © 11.15.14. Lois Beasley-Carlisle

Okay my disclaimer of the day is the required disclosure for all attorneys.  Alabama.  “No  representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.” Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(e) (2002).
Florida  (b) Internet Presence. All World Wide Web sites and home pages accessed via the Internet that are controlled or sponsored by a lawyer or law firm and that contain information concerning the lawyer’s or law firm’s services:  (1) shall disclose all jurisdictions in which the lawyer or members of the law firm are licensed to practice law; Alabama and Florida.  (2) shall disclose 1 or more bona fide office locations of the lawyer or law firm, in accordance with subdivision (a)(2) of rule 4-7.2; and Lois Beasley-Carlisle, Offices of Carlisle & Carlisle, P.C.,  1621 Pinson St., Tarrant, AL 35217.  (3) are considered to be information provided upon request.  Florida Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 4-7.6(b) (2008).
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