Even with new systems available and more people becoming educated, identity theft remains a serious problem. Having someone gain access to your personal information is bad enough, but when your name, social security number, passwords, credit cards, and other identifiers are used, your world turns upside down.
With identity theft, there are two major challenges. First, finding the perpetrator can be difficult, although certainly not impossible. Second, the damage is done. Depending on the information stolen and how it was used, it could take you years or even a lifetime to undo the damage, unless you hire an exceptional attorney. If you have been the victim of identity theft, this is not something to fight on your own; instead, you need to hire a reputable attorney and take legal action.
Working on your own and with the attorney, you will need to take several actions. Start by locking down any problem bank, credit union, or credit card accounts, advising that your identity was stolen. If offered some type of credit monitoring service, accept it since a data breach is one way that people learn about being victimized.
Go over all of your bank and credit card statements, looking specifically for unauthorized charges. If anything is found, alert the respective company immediately. In addition, request a free copy of your credit report from all three reporting agencies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. Once you receive the reports, look for any opened mystery accounts or suspicious charges. If something is found, have the agencies place a fraud alert on your reports.
You also need to file a report with your local police department and the Federal Trade Commission. Even if you have little information to provide, both of these reports will prove beneficial once the perpetrator is caught. Your attorney can use this documentation when seeking prosecution and monetary recovery.
If you are struggling to get opposing parties to cooperate or take the appropriate action, your attorney will be your voice.
There is yet another reason for hiring an attorney as the victim of identity theft: Since there is a good chance that your credit will suffer, at least initially, your attorney can put a stop to harassing phone calls from creditors and collection agencies.
By hiring an identity theft attorney, you have legal backing for getting restitution, not just for actual harm suffered, but also for any time that you spent trying to repair damage. In fact, in many states, victims of identity theft can file an actual lawsuit against the perpetrator if caught. In this case, you can sue for the amount of the theft, times three.
Although it is easy to feel victimized in this situation, with an attorney working alongside you, you will have the direction needed to get through. Most importantly, make sure that the attorney you hire has experience working specifically on identity theft cases. With so many crackdowns on this particular crime, and with advanced technology on your side, there is good reason to believe the criminal will be caught at some point. In the meantime, you have an attorney in your corner.