Identity theft is an increasingly common problem facing consumers in today’s world of electronic information sharing. It is an extremely frustrating and often difficult process to correct. However, there are ways to fight back against identity theft and restore the damage done to your credit in the process.
How do I know if I have been a victim of identity theft?
While it may not always be easy to detect, there are common signs that you may have been a victim of identity theft. If you have experienced any of the following, it is possible that you have been a victim of identity theft:
- Unknown credit accounts have shown up on your credit report
- You have been receiving mail or pre-approved credit offers with someone else's name at your home or office
- Companies that you have not done business with or applied to for credit have been looking at your credit report
- Debt collectors have started sending you collection notices for accounts you do not have
- Your credit report lists an alias name or address that you have never used
- You have received bills, statements, or other account information in the mail relating to accounts you didn't open
Although these are indications that your identity may have been stolen, they are not conclusive that it has occurred. It is possible that any or all could have happened by mistake. While it seems that these types of errors should not be common among credit granters, sadly they are, and it is possible that this is what happened in your case. Additionally, the credit reporting agencies regularly make credit reporting errors such as confusing consumers with one another, mixing and/or merging credit information inaccurately, and including credit accounts on the reports of consumers who have no connection to the account in question.
What should I do if I believe I have been a victim of identity theft?
If you have been or suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft, it is important not to sit back and hope it goes away. Identity theft can have devastating consequences and must be dealt with immediately. There are several different resources consumers may use for fighting identity theft, one of which is the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The FCRA entitles consumers to a free annual credit report, as well as provides a method for placing a fraud block on your credit report. However, if after reviewing your credit report, you believe that you have been a victim of identity theft, it is critical that you speak to an attorney who understands the process for correcting and restoring your credit information. If this is the issue you are facing, contact us or another consumer attorney as soon as possible. You may send an email to our intake department here or you may contact us by phone.