identity theft

Common Identity Theft Myths

Identity theft is a serious problem in the United States. In fact, approximately 35 percent of all adults in the United States have been victims of identity theft. In order to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft, it’s important to have accurate information about the crime. Unfortunately, however, there’s a lot of misinformation out there on the topic. In order to help clear things up, we’ve compiled some of the most common identity theft myths. 

Myth #1: Identity theft just happens to adults

Most people believe that adults are the only victims of identity theft. After all, children don’t file taxes or have credit cards. Unfortunately, however, children are approximately 35 times more likely than adults to become identity theft victims. Criminals often steal children’s Social Security numbers from school or medical records, and information that kids share online can also be used to commit identity theft. 

Myth #2: Identity theft mainly happens online

The internet is indeed a common source of identity theft. However, criminals continue to steal people’s identities by other means. In fact, a 2014 FTC report found that nearly half of all fraud complaints involved telephone scams. Therefore, in order to prevent identity theft, it’s important to remain vigilant regardless of whether you are online or offline. 

Myth #3: You’ll quickly know if your identity is stolen

It takes approximately 34 days for a person to learn that he or she has become a victim of identity theft. This average is even higher for theft not involving credit cards. This gives criminals plenty of time to do ample financial damage before a person figures out what’s going on. Luckily, by remaining vigilant, consumers can drastically reduce their odds of becoming identity theft victims. 

Myth #4: Identity theft only affects your finances

Although identity theft is primarily a financial crime, it can affect far more than your finances. For example, if a criminal who has stolen your identity is pulled over for a traffic violation and fails to appear in court, the authorities will issue an arrest warrant—for you. 

Myth #5: There’s nothing you can do to prevent identity theft

You can absolutely prevent identity theft if you remain vigilant. Regarding credit card fraud, you should check your transactions weekly for signs of foul play. If you see anything suspicious, you should immediately contact your card company. You should also check your credit report at least once a year for signs of suspicious activity. 

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

If you have had your identity stolen, you need an experienced consumer class action attorney on your side. Identity theft is often the result of the negligence of businesses and other organizations that store or have access to your personal information. When a business or other entity fails to adequately protect your personal information, our consumer class action attorneys will work hard to ensure that you receive financial compensation for your losses. Our talented lawyers have the experience and knowledge to succeed in your consumer class action lawsuit. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

identity theft

Who Is at Risk for Identity Theft?

Identity theft is on the rise in America. Every day, thousands of Americans fall victim to this illicit practice. And although there are ways for identity theft victims to clean up the mess caused by fraudsters, it can take years to get things back on track following the theft of one’s identity. Everyone is at risk for identity theft. However, some people are more vulnerable than others. Below are some of the main factors that can put you at risk for identity theft.

Age

Your age can put you at risk for identity theft. The three main age groups at the highest risk of identity theft are the elderly, children, and college students. Although it may be surprising that children are often the victims of identity theft, children are more than 50 times more likely to be identity theft victims than adults.

Education and Income

People with college degrees are roughly 10 percent more likely to be victims of identity theft than those with some or no college education. Also, the higher one’s income is, the more likely he or she is to be a victim of identity theft.   

Location

The state you live in can affect your odds of becoming a victim of identity theft. Residents in the following states are at high risk for identity theft: 

  • Florida
  • The District of Columbia
  • California
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Illinois
  • Texas
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Connecticut

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

To protect yourself from identity theft, you should take the following steps

  • Be careful what you share online. Any time you share personal information on the internet, you increase your risk of becoming an identity theft victim. 
  • Change your passwords often. Password breaches are a common form of identity theft. Therefore, you should choose complicated passwords and change them often. 
  • Be careful offline. Identity theft isn’t just an online phenomenon. Therefore, you should never share personal information with people you don’t know. 
  • Protect your phone. Finally, you should only use apps on your phone that use industry-grade encryption methods. Also, you should make sure your phone is password protected.

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

If you are an identity theft victim, you need an experienced consumer class action attorney in your corner. Identify theft is often caused by the negligent actions of businesses and other financial organizations that store or have access to your information. When a business or other entity provides a party with unauthorized access to your personal information, our talented attorneys will work hard to ensure that you receive financial compensation for your losses. Our talented attorneys have extensive litigation, investigative, and trial experience, which means that we have what it takes to succeed in your consumer class action lawsuit. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

robocall

How to Spot and Stop Robocalls

Robocalls in the United States are out of control. In fact, approximately 2,000 robocalls are placed every second. Robocalls, which are prerecorded messages delivered to landlines and cell phones by way of computerized auto dialers, run the gamut from annoying to fraudulent. Luckily, there are several things consumers can do to fight back against robocalls. 

Spotting illegal robocalls

Most robocalls attempt to sell customers something. Sales robocalls are illegal. The only exception to this is if a customer has given a company prior consent to place such calls. However, simply purchasing a product or contacting a business with a question does not constitute permission to place robocalls. If you receive a prerecorded sales message without permission, the sender of the message is breaking the law.

Stopping illegal robocalls

Not only are most robocalls illegal, but many of them are scams. In order to stop illegal and fraudulent robocalls, you should take the following steps: 

Hang up immediately: A simple way to avoid robocall scams is to hang up immediately. If you pick up the phone and hear a prerecorded sales message, hang up the phone. Don’t provide any information. Don’t press a button to (supposedly) remove your name from a list. Just hang up. 

Block the number: After receiving a robocall, block the number. Your options for blocking robocalls will differ depending on the model of phone you have, your service provider, and whether you use a landline or cell phone. Blocking robocall numbers will help ensure that you aren’t caught off guard by future calls. 

Report the call: Finally, after hanging up, report the call. There are multiple ways to do this, including:

  • Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC provides telecommunications companies and other entities with the numbers of known robocallers. The FTC collects these phone numbers from consumer complaints. Therefore, the more that information that consumers provide, the more efficient the authorities and phone companies become at fighting robocalls. This results in fewer robocalls for everyone.
  • Report the call to the Better Business Bureau. The Better Business Bureau shares robocall phone scam information with government and law enforcement agencies to help them combat illegal calls. 
  • Contact a Florida TCPA attorney. Finally, if you’re sick and tired of unsolicited robocalls, you need an experienced Florida TCPA attorney on your side. Not only will our experienced attorney help you report your information to the appropriate authorities, but he will vigorously pursue financial compensation on your behalf. Experienced TCPA attorney Seth Lehrman represents individuals who have received unsolicited robocalls and texts in TCPA cases in Florida and nationwide. If your TCPA claim is successful, you can receive up to $1500 for each documented violation of the TCPA law. Therefore, if you’re ready to take a stand against unwanted robocalls, please contact us today for a free consultation.
illegal robocall

Company Forced to Pay Nearly $1 Billion in Damages for Illegal Robocalls

A federal judge recently upheld an award of nearly $1 billion in a class-action lawsuit against a marketing company that placed nearly 2 million recorded robocalls. In the original case, a jury found that the company, ViSalus, had conducted unlawful telemarketing practices by placing almost 2 million recorded robocalls offering deals on dietary supplements, weight-loss products, and energy drinks.

The suit was filed by an Oregon woman who had once been an employee of the company. In her lawsuit, the ex-employee argued that the company’s practice of placing prerecorded calls was in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). 

Under the TCPA, a consumer who receives robocalls, telemarketing calls, or unsolicited faxes to his or her cellphone or residential landline may file a lawsuit against the telemarketer or debt collector. The potential penalties for violations of the TCPA are as follows

  • A penalty of up to $500 for each violation of the do not call registry
  • A penalty of up to $500 per phone call that violates the TCPA
  • A penalty of up to $1,500 for each knowing and willful violation of the TCPA 

In this case, the court determined that ViSalus made 1,850,436 unlawful automated calls, resulting in a fine of $500 per call. In the federal court’s opinion, the court stated that the award amount was based on a simple application of the TCPA. Noting the “stratospheric” number of TCPA violations in the case, the court stated that it was unsurprising that the constitutionally valid minimum penalty of $500 per call resulted in such a large award. In doing so, it dismissed ViSalus’s argument that the size of the award was unconstitutional, stating that the crux of ViSalus’s argument was that if a defendant commits a violation enough times, the penalty for a single violation becomes unconstitutional. 

Elaborating on this point, the court cited a 2020 opinion by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which was a case the government brought against Dish Network. In that case, the court held that a defendant can’t complain about the consequences of its own extensive misconduct when such conduct results in a large penalty due to the excessive number of violations committed by the defendant. 

Contact a Florida TCPA Attorney 

If you’ve received unsolicited robocalls, our experienced Florida TCPA attorney is here to help you obtain compensation for your troubles. When you contact experienced and knowledgeable attorney Seth Lehrman, he’ll diligently pursue financial compensation on your behalf. Seth Lehrman represents individuals who have received unwanted robocalls or texts in TCPA cases in Florida and nationwide. If your TCPA claim is successful, you are eligible to recover up to $1500 for each documented violation of the TCPA law. Therefore, if you have received unsolicited robocalls or have been subjected to other harassing behavior by telemarketers, please contact us today for a free consultation.

lawyer explaining a class action lawsuit

An Overview of Class Action Lawsuits

Although most people have heard of class action lawsuits, not many have a good understanding of them. Broadly speaking, class action lawsuits are legal actions brought on behalf of groups of people. Class action lawsuits differ from traditional lawsuits, which are typically filed by single individuals. However, there is much more to class action lawsuits than the number of parties involved. Below is an overview of class action lawsuits. For additional information, please contact a Florida class action attorney

Class Action Lawsuit Requirements

A class action lawsuit is a type of legal action that is filed on behalf of a class of people who all have similar claims against a defendant or group of defendants. Class action lawsuits are filed in court by class representatives or lead plaintiffs. After a class representative or lead plaintiff files a class action lawsuit, the court determines whether it will permit the matter to move ahead as a class action. There are several factors that a case must meet in order for it to move forward as a class action. These factors are: 

  • Numerosity, which means that there must be a large enough number of individual claims to make class certification the most effective manner to proceed;
  • Commonality, which means that the claims must be similar;
  • Typicality, which means that the class representatives’ claims must be typical of all other class members’ claims; and
  • Adequacy, which means that class representatives must be willing and able to represent the class in an effective manner. 

Settlement and Judgment 

Each class member in a class action lawsuit is bound by the terms of the class action settlement or judgment. If the lawsuit seeks monetary damages, all class members receive notice of the proceedings, a description of the lawsuit, and information on how to opt out of the lawsuit. Class members who opt out are ineligible to obtain financial recovery from the lawsuit. 

Relief

Most class action lawsuits seek to obtain financial relief for every class member. A class action lawsuit may also ask the court to define the obligations and rights of the class versus the defendant. This is called a declaratory judgment class action. In addition, class action lawsuits sometimes ask the court for injunctive relief. If a request for injunctive relief is successful, the court can order the defendant in the case to take certain actions or cease certain conduct.

Contact a Florida Class Action Attorney 

If you are interested in pursuing a class action lawsuit in Florida, you need an experienced Florida class action attorney on your side. Class action lawyer Seth Lehrman and his class action team have extensive investigative, litigation, and trial experience. Mr. Lehrman’s firm has the knowledge, experience, and resources required to effectively represent you in your class action lawsuit. For class action legal assistance, please contact our law firm today for a consultation.

Security lock, cyber security concept

When Can I Sue for Identity Theft?

Identity theft is the fraudulent acquisition and use of an individual’s personal information for financial gain. The unique information typically associated with i theft includes dates of birth, phone numbers, Social Security numbers, email addresses, fax numbers, bank account information, and credit card numbers. When a thief obtains any of this type of information, he or she can then use it to impersonate the individual whose information was stolen. Luckily, victims of identity theft may be entitled to financial compensation via an identity theft lawsuit. If you are a victim of identity theft, please contact a consumer class action attorney for assistance. 

Liability for Identity Theft

In addition to the thief, there are several entities that can be held liable for identity theft. Entities that can be held liable for identity theft include the major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian), credit institutions, and banks. There are several theories of liability that victims of identity theft can utilize to seek compensation for their losses, including breach of fiduciary duty and negligence. To demonstrate negligence, an identity theft victim must show that 

  • the defendant owed him or her a duty of care,
  • the defendant breached that duty of care,
  • the defendant’s breach resulted in damages. 

An identity theft victim may also be sued for breach of fiduciary duty. A fiduciary duty exists when a party has a special relationship with another party, such as doctor-patient or attorney-client. Due to the nature of this relationship, the responsible party (the fiduciary) must take extra precautions regarding an individual’s personal information. If the fiduciary fails to protect this information, he or she may be held liable for any resulting losses. 

Additional theories of liability that may be available to identity theft victims include

  • invasion of privacy,
  • appropriation of a victim’s likeness or name, and
  • intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Financial Compensation for Identity Theft

There are several types of damages available to identity theft victims. Examples include compensatory damages (which compensate victims for monies lost as a result of identity theft), punitive damages (which are assessed to deter future wrongdoing), and equitable relief (which prohibits a defendant from performing some future act). 

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

If you are a victim of identity theft, you need an experienced consumer class action attorney on your side. Identify theft is often the result of the negligence of businesses and other financial organizations that store or have access to your personal information. When an entity provides a party with unauthorized access to this information, whether intentionally or due to negligence, our attorneys will work hard to ensure that you are financially compensated for your loss. Our talented legal team has extensive litigation, investigative, and trial experience, which means that we understand what it takes to succeed in a consumer class action lawsuit. Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a consultation.

Fingerprint security; identity theft.

Damages Available in Identity Theft Cases

Tens of millions of people have their identities stolen every year. In fact, nearly 15 million people were victims of identity theft in 2019. Of those identity theft victims who suffered unreimbursed expenses due to identity theft, the median loss was approximately $400. In other words, identity theft has a major impact on its victims, and those who suffer financial losses due to identity theft often must resort to legal action to recoup their losses. Luckily, the victims of identity theft may be entitled to damages, which are a form of financial compensation. Below is an overview of identity theft lawsuits, including the types of damages available in these cases. For additional information, please contact a consumer class action attorney as soon as possible. 

Liability for Identity Theft

Before you seek damages in an identity theft lawsuit, you must determine who is at fault for your losses. In a perfect world, you would bring a lawsuit against the person who stole your identity. However, identity thieves are often difficult to catch. Luckily, in cases where the thief can’t be located, there are other parties who may be held liable for your losses. Certain institutions are responsible for keeping your personal information, such as your Social Security number, private. When they fail to do so, they can be held responsible for your losses. Parties that can be held liable for identity theft include:

  • Banks and other financial institutions, 
  • Government entities,
  • Creditors, and
  • Employers.

Causes of Action for Identity Theft 

There are several causes of action for identity theft due to the various ways that an identity can be stolen. Examples of possible causes of action include:

  • Infliction of emotional distress,
  • Negligence,
  • Invasion of privacy,
  • Breach of fiduciary duty, and 
  • Breach of contract.

Damages for Identity Theft

Depending on the cause of action in your case, the extent of your loss, and the type of defendant, you may have several forms of compensation available in your case, including:

  • Compensatory damages,
  • Emotional damages,
  • Punitive damages, and 
  • Injunctive relief.

In order to determine what type of financial compensation you may be entitled to, you should contact a consumer class action attorney.

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

If you have suffered losses due to identity theft, you need to contact an experienced consumer class action attorney as soon as possible. As noted above, identity theft is often the result of the negligence of financial organizations and other businesses that store or have access to your personal information. When an entity provides a party with unauthorized access to this information, our attorneys will work hard to hold it responsible for your financial losses. Our talented legal team has extensive investigative, litigation, and trial experience, which means that we understand what it takes to be successful in your consumer class action lawsuit. Please contact us today to schedule a consultation. 

Woman on her phone, looking for signs of identity theft.

How to Recognize Identity Theft

Identity theft is a major problem in the United States. In fact, nearly 30 percent of all adults in the United States will fall victim to identity theft at some point in their lives. In other words, identity theft poses a serious threat to everyone. Luckily, there are steps you can take to both recognize and prevent identity theft. When you learn how to recognize identity theft early, you can drastically lessen the damage it causes to your financial situation. Below is an overview of how you can recognize and prevent identity theft.  

Signs of Identity Theft

The primary way to recognize identity theft is by reviewing your credit report. Your credit report contains all of your current credit account information, so anything you don’t recognize—such as a credit card you never applied for—is a sign that you may be a victim of identity theft. However, the signs of identity theft go beyond your credit report. Additional indications that you may be a victim of identity theft include: 

  • Failure to receive certain checks or bills,
  • Receipt of bills for items you didn’t order or statements for credit cards you don’t recognize,
  • Denial for credit cards or other loans despite a good credit history,
  • Unauthorized bank transactions,
  • Notice that your personally identifiable information was part of a data breach,
  • Denial of your electronic tax filing, and
  • Receipt of unauthorized authentication messages by email or text for unknown accounts.

Preventing Identity Theft 

Although no one is completely safe from identity theft, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming an identity theft victim, including:  

  • Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet,
  • Monitor and protect your mail,
  • Shred bank statements and other important documents that you don’t plan to keep,
  • Avoid public Wi-Fi use,
  • Make sure your passwords are strong, and 
  • Don’t share personal information on social media.

Contact a Consumer Class Action Attorney Today! 

If you are a victim of identity theft, there are steps you can take to begin repairing your finances, one of which is contacting an experienced consumer class action attorney. Identity theft is often the result of the negligence of financial organizations and other businesses that store or have access to your private information. When one of these entities provides a third party with access to your financial information without your permission, our attorneys will work hard to ensure that they are held financially accountable for their actions. Our talented class action team has extensive investigative, litigation, and trial experience, which means that we have what it takes to effectively represent you in your consumer class action lawsuit. In addition, we have the experience and resources to stand up to major corporations and big businesses in court. Please contact us today to begin your journey to financial recovery. 

Woman on her phone looking through her secured accounts.

What Should I Do After My Identity Has Been Stolen?

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.

Man receiving a robocall in his car.

Major Telecommunications Companies Combat Robocalls With New Technology

Several major telecommunications companies recently announced that they’ve developed new technology to help combat illegal robocalls. This technology, called STIR/SHAKEN, is a cross-network number verification system that protects consumers from scams and robocalls. This new technology is intended to prevent “spoofing,” which is a process that makes a false number appear on a call recipient’s caller ID. Scammers use this method because they know that people are more likely to answer calls from familiar area codes than ones they don’t recognize. 

Companies Vow to Fight Robocalls

A spokesman from T-Mobile described his organization’s battle with scammers as an “arms race” and discussed the necessity of cooperation between telecommunications companies in combating robocalls. In addition, he vowed that his organization would continue to innovate and develop new ways to fight robocalls. One such innovation is the company’s Caller Verified program, which is T-Mobile’s STIR/SHAKEN implementation. The spokesman noted that Caller Verified is now operable across 23 smartphones.

A spokesman from Sprint expressed a similar sentiment and stressed the need for cooperation despite fierce competition between telecommunications companies. The fight against robocalls, he noted, must be fought by all telecommunications company in tandem. In discussing new methods of combating robocalls, he stressed the importance and effectiveness of STIR/SHAKEN and said that implementation of this new technology will improve the overall experience of his company’s customers. 

STIR/SHAKEN Overview

As noted above, STIR, which is an acronym for “Secure Telephone Identity Revisited,” and SHAKEN, which is an acronym for “Signature-based Handling of Asserted Information Using Tokens,” are new technologies designed to combat robocalls. Specifically, SHAKEN/STIR is a technology framework that allows calls that travel through interconnected phone networks to have their caller ID numbers signed as legitimate by phone carriers before reaching consumers. In other words, SHAKEN/STIR digitally validates the authenticity of phone calls that pass through different phone networks, thereby allowing the phone companies of receiving consumers to verify that calls match the numbers displayed on consumers’ caller IDs.

Have You Received Unwanted Robocalls? Contact a Florida attorney today! 

Unfortunately, despite measures such as those discussed above, scammers continue to place robocalls, and the number of calls is only increasing. If you are sick and tired of unwanted robocalls, our experienced Florida TCPA attorney is here to help you fight back. With the help of attorney Seth Lehrman, not only will we help you fight illegal robocalls, but you may receive financial compensation in the process. Seth Lehrman represents people who have received unwanted robocalls or texts in TCPA cases in Florida and nationwide. If your claim is successful, you are eligible to recover up to $1500 for each documented violation of the TCPA law. So, if you have received unsolicited robocalls or have been subjected to other harassing behavior by telemarketers, please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.