Each year, tens of millions of people are victims of identity fraud. In fact, in 2019 alone, over 14 million people had their identities stolen. Nearly a quarter of these victims had unreimbursed expenses related to the fraud, with the median loss being approximately $400. If you are a victim of identify theft, there are several steps you must take to repair the damage. For additional guidance on this topic, please contact a consumer class action attorney as soon as possible.
File a report with the Federal Trade Commission
If you believe your identity has been stolen, the first thing you should do is file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. Although the Federal Trade Commission doesn’t have the ability to pursue criminal charges, its information is often used by law enforcement agencies to track down perpetrators. In addition, after you’ve reported the fraud, you’ll receive a recovery plan and prefilled forms to use to file police reports and dispute fraudulent charges with the credit bureaus.
File a report with the police
The next thing you should do after having your identity stolen is to file a report with your local police department. Although your local police department may be of limited assistance if your identity was stolen by criminals online or overseas, it will be able to help you if the theft took place locally.
Notify the IRS
If your Social Security number was used to file an income tax return, you should report this to the IRS. This can be accomplished by submitting a Form 14039 Identity Theft Affidavit to the IRS.
Follow up with the major credit bureaus
Identity theft often results in destroyed credit. Therefore, if your identity has been stolen, you should immediately contact the three major credit bureaus and request that a fraud alert be placed on your account. This alert will stay on your credit report for a year, and it lets any institution that pulls your credit report know that your identity may be compromised.
Initiate a credit freeze and review your credit reports
You should also review your credit reports and consider initiating a credit freeze. When you check your credit reports, you should see if any accounts have been opened that you don’t recognize. And a credit freeze will prevent the credit bureaus from sharing your report with anyone who requests it. This will prevent lenders and other parties from accessing your reports before you’ve had a chance to sort them out.
Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today!
Finally, if you are a victim of identity theft, you need an experienced attorney on your side. Often, identity theft occurs due to the negligence of financial organizations and other businesses that store or have access to your personal financial information. When a person or entity provides third parties access to your financial information without your permission, we will work to ensure that they are held financially accountable for their actions. Our class action team has extensive investigative, litigation and trial experience, which allows us to effectively represent you in your consumer class action lawsuit. In addition, we have the experience and resources to take on major corporations and big businesses in court. Please contact us today for a consultation.