Identity theft affects millions of citizens across the United States annually. Trying to figure out when and how your identity was stolen can be daunting, exhausting, and time-consuming all at once. Identity theft can have significant repercussions on your credit report and reputation. Therefore, engaging the services of an experienced identity theft attorney to explain your legal rights is a must. The following paragraphs discuss what constitutes identity theft, how to prevent identity theft from happening, and when an identity theft attorney can help.

What Is Identity Theft?

Identity theft happens when someone uses your name, social security number, address, date of birth, bank and credit card details, or any other personal identifying information without your consent for fraudulent activities.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there were 1,387,615 identity theft cases in 2020 alone. It’s worth noting that this amount is triple the number of identity theft cases in 2018.

Whether or not you’ve been a victim, one way to prevent further damage is to keep a closer eye on your credit report—more on that below.

Common Errors to Watch Out for on Your Credit Report

While conducting your regular credit report checks, you may spot inaccurate information or other errors on your credit report. Pay close attention to the following types of errors:

Balance Errors: Balance-related inaccuracies could range from incorrect account balances or credit limits. For example, your balance or credit limit may be overstated or understated. This could occur if an unauthorized person gained access to your credit card and made purchases.

Fraudulent Accounts: Unfamiliar accounts appearing on your credit report are often the product of identity theft. These are entire accounts that are listed on the credit reports that do not belong to you. Some examples would be credit cards taken out in your name without your permission. Another example would be collection accounts for debts that were never yours. Finally, judgments that came from an account that someone else opened in your name without your permission may be appearing on your credit reports as a result of identity theft.

That being said, the types of errors listed above aren’t always indicative of an identity theft issue. Sometimes these types of errors occur as the result of file mixing. File mixing occurs when a credit bureau mistakenly reports information from one consumer on the credit report of another consumer. File mixing could occur if you share the same or similar name, address, social security number, or date of birth with another individual. File mixing is especially common among family members. The attorneys at Raburn Kaufman can help you determine whether your credit reporting errors are due to identity theft or file mixing.

How to Prevent Identity Theft

The saying “a stitch in time saves nine” rings true here. To avoid being a victim of identity theft, here are some countermeasures to apply.

  • Never release personal information to third parties. These details might include your social security number, date of birth, account names, next of kin, and other information that could be used in security questions. 
  • Keep personal information out of the reach of friends and family who might pay visits to your residence. Many of our identity theft clients come to us with fraudulent accounts that were opened by family members. In other words, trust no one.
  • Keep important documents in a safe and secure place. Avoid keeping documents like your social security card in your car or wallet, as thieves could be lurking around any corner. 
  • Shred or destroy documents containing your personal identifying information. Before trashing unneeded documents, it’s essential to go through each page carefully and shred those with private information. This prevents personal and financial details from ending up in the wrong hands.
  • Never open messages from unfamiliar email addresses, as they might possess spyware intended to access your information. 

How an Identity Theft Attorney Can Help

If a fraudulent account caused by identity theft is being reported on your credit report, reach out to an experienced identity theft lawyer to discuss your legal options. Most consumers are unaware that under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers may be entitled to financial compensation from credit bureaus, credit card companies, or other entities who report false, inaccurate, or deceptive information on their credit reports.

Parties responsible for inaccurate credit reporting must investigate disputes and correct errors as required by the FCRA. If the entity fails or refuses to remove an error, it is violating the law. This is where you need a competent identity theft attorney to advocate on your behalf.

Unlike other law firms, we at Raburn Kaufman focus our practice on the FCRA to protect our clients’ rights and ensure that entities who violate the FCRA are held accountable.

Leveraging nearly 25 years of attorney experience, our clients receive unparalleled consumer law services. Are you the victim of identity theft? Reach out to us today at 877-662-2455 to schedule your free case evaluation and discuss your potential claims with one of our identity theft attorneys. If we don’t win, you don’t pay!

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