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Identity Theft

Legal help for identity theft victims

Preventing identity theft has become an exceptional challenge in these days of electronic transactions and computer records. Low-tech identity theft strategies such as "shoulder surfing" and dumpster raiding are still being used, but now identity thieves have combined them with more sophisticated computer hacking that has caused many individuals and businesses undue debt and hardship. Shredding documents with personal information and adopting cautious Internet and phone habits can help to protect your identity, but when these measures fail, you may feel helpless in the fight to retrieve what is rightfully yours.

About Identity Theft

There are several types of identity theft, and each brings different consequences and legal procedures. One of the most common is financial identity theft, where the thief uses the victim's identity to obtain a credit card, goods or services; credit card identity theft can be particularly damaging, leaving your credit rating in shambles and severely limiting your financial freedom.

Identity theft fraud concerning your social security number, birth certificate or other personal information can result in a variety of legal complications and even in your being arrested for a crime you didn't commit. Reporting the crime is the first step in a potentially long process to restore some of the most important aspects of your identity.

Identity Theft Laws

While it is possible to regain control over your personal and financial life by yourself, proving your innocence can require more time and effort than you may think. Contrary to the standard legal process, many victims find that they are judged "guilty until proven innocent" by creditors; in this case, an experienced identity theft lawyer is a necessary ally. With a thorough understanding of credit establishment and experience with lawsuits concerning fraud, an identity theft lawyer has the expertise to guide you through all the necessary processes.

As an identity theft victim, you have rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and there are some measures that you can take to remedy your situation. Your rights extend from full disclosure of your consumer reporting file, to reading documents related to fraudulent accounts and information from a debt collector. While these options are comforting and helpful, the process of exercising these rights can be complicated. For instance, you will have to prove your identity—which is no easy feat given your tenuous hold on it—and possibly provide a police report and an affidavit before the documents will be released. The process can be overwhelming, but a lawyer can help at every step of the way.

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