What steps you must take if you have been a victim of identity theft
When your identity has been stolen, you should not expect much sympathy, let alone help, from the banks and other lenders. When you open your account with your bank, you are a valued customer. When you want to incur debt, you are a value customer. When your identity gets stolen and your credit gets brutalized by an identity theft, the bank looks at you as if you were a street person staggering into one of their branches. Here is how you can protect yourself.
FIRST…KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. There is no substitution for knowledge of what your rights are in this case. The banks are glad to convince you that you are responsible for the charges incurred on your account by the identity thief. The fact is, you are not liable for these charges. In some cases, you may be liable for up to $50 of such charges but in many cases, you are not liable for any charges at all. I have an What to do after you discover that your identity has been stolen..
SECOND, file a police report. Go to your local police department will all documents you have that show that your identity has been stolen. For example, you may have credit card statements that show the charges that the identity thief has incurred. You may also have received demand letters from collection agencies demanding that you pay debts that you have not incurred. In any event, getting a police report is very important and will be the key to you requiring the banks and any other lenders, do their jobs and get off your back.
THIRD, pull your credit reports from all three credit reporting agencies. You get a free credit pull once a year at http://www.annualcreditreport.com. If you have already pulled your credit report for the year at this site, then contact each of the credit reporting agencies directly and get a copy of your credit report immediately. You need to see if any damage has been inflicted on your credit score by the identity thief or thieves. If there are items on your credit report that do not belong on there, call each credit reporting agency and identify the inaccurate item(s) on your credit report. Next, follow up by first class mail with a letter confirming your conversation with each credit reporting agency and include a copy of the police report that I discussed above. Again, this is your key to making sure that everyone does their jobs. With a police report in their possession, the banks, credit reporting agencies must take your dispute seriously and they must investigate it.
By taking these three steps immediately after discovering that your identity has been stolen, you will save yourself a multitude of head aches that invariably follow identity theft victims that do not take these steps.
If you have been victimized by a debt collector or have items on your credit report that are incorrect, call or email Attorney Gary Nitzkin for a free consultation at (888) 293-2882. For more information about your credit rights as a consumer, visit our blog at www.micreditlawyerblog.com. Visit our website at www.micreditlawyer.com.