Identity theft occurs when a criminal illegally obtains another person’s private information and uses that information for financial gain. Although there are occasions when a person obtains someone’s personal information by digging through trash and recovering past bills or documents, most identity theft happens online.
Identity theft is a crime that can affect your life and finances for years to come. At Berger Montague, our Minneapolis identity theft attorneys are experts in technology, privacy, and data breach cases. We can help you find the best way to recover from identity theft and obtain financial compensation.
How Can Identity Thieves Steal Your Personal Information?
There are many ways that identity thieves may steal your information. Some include:
- Phishing emails that attempt to trick you into divulging personal information
- Hacking personal computers, businesses, and governments to obtain personal and financial information
- Stealing mail, purses, and wallets to obtain identifying information
What Are Some Signs That Identity Theft Has Occurred?
There are some common signs that you could be the victim of identity theft, including:
- Receiving credit card statements that you did not apply for or bills for purchases you did not make
- Receiving calls or letters about expenses that you did not authorize
- Noticing incorrect information or accounts that are not yours on your credit report
- Reviewing your credit score and finding it is substantially lower than expected
Your taxes can also be affected by identity theft. If identity thieves are able to file a tax return under your time before you do, they could steal your tax refund. Identity thieves also sometimes apply for government benefits, such as unemployment benefits using stolen identities—a scheme that could hurt your eligibility for those same benefits later.
How Does Identity Theft Affect Your Credit Report and Credit Score?
Your credit report can be severely impacted by identity theft. Identity thieves can open new credit cards or lines of credit using your personal information. Your debt can increase when identity thieves then do not make payments on credit cards or lines of credit.
These actions can negatively affect your credit score and your approval for credit, mortgages, and loans moving forward.
Mistaken Cases of Identity Theft Based on Inaccurate Credit Reports
Sometimes, people receive denials for loans or lines of credit based on the results of their credit reports. When they see the discrepancies, they often believe they’ve been a victim of identity theft. More often than not, the case is simply due to an error made by a credit reporting agency.
Many people just want their credit reports fixed and don’t realize the monetary implications their cases have. If a credit reporting agency acted negligently in its methods, it can be held liable for damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). We have settled numerous cases involving credit report errors for more than $100,000.
Can Identity Theft Victims Be Held Responsible for Repaying False Accounts?
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) provides rights for identity theft victims. Under FCBA, identity theft victims have the right to dispute unauthorized accounts and charges and request a copy of the transaction records from companies so that they are not responsible for credit reporting errors or false accounts created by identity thieves.
Monitoring Your Credit Report
One of the crucial ways to notice signs of identity theft is by monitoring the changes on your credit report. The only federally authorized way to obtain your credit report is through annualcreditreport.com. Your credit report should contain all new accounts that have been opened in your name.
If you notice new accounts on your report that you did not open, you need to take immediate action. Your best course is to seek the counsel of a Minneapolis identity theft lawyer from Berger Montague.
How an Identity Theft Attorney in Minneapolis Can Help
Dealing with the consequences of identity theft can place serious stress on your life. You can deal with the fallout of having your data stolen for months and even years. You may be at risk of draining your bank accounts, lowering your credit score, and in a way, having to start over financially.
The stress of resolving identity theft can be alleviated when you seek counsel from a Minneapolis identity theft lawyer. Our lawyers are committed to helping you clear your name and recover your identity.
Working from our offices in Northeast Minneapolis, we have a number of attorneys on staff who are very familiar with identity theft issues and violations of the FCRA that may have led to your credit reporting errors.
Navigate the Process
Our lawyers can assist you by navigating you through the legal process. You are responsible for many tasks with an identity theft case, including reporting identity theft, freezing accounts, filing a police report, and protecting your remaining assets. Our identity theft lawyers in Minneapolis can perform these tasks and maintain communication with you about the process.
Remove Fraudulent Accounts From Your Credit Report
Another action our lawyers can perform for you is helping to remove fraudulent accounts from your credit report. We are familiar with the FCRA and the necessary documents you will need to prove that the listed accounts do not belong to you. We will thoroughly investigate your credit report to determine all fraudulent accounts.
Place Fraud Alerts on Your Credit Report
Another action we can perform is placing fraud alerts on your credit report. When a fraud alert is placed on your credit report, companies should verify your identity before opening any new accounts in your name.
Draft a Dispute Letter to Creditors
Credit agencies and creditors need to be properly informed of identity theft to ensure that you are not left holding the bag for fraudulent charges.
To help defend yourself against these entities, our identity theft lawyers can help draft dispute letters that clearly explain that you are the victim of identity theft and are not responsible for debts fraudulently incurred in your name. We are experienced in drafting dispute letters and know which documents to include as evidence.
Contact Us to Inquire About an Identity Theft Lawsuit or Class Action
Do not hesitate to contact us about a potential case. Berger Montague works on a contingency fee basis. Whether in an individual civil suit or a class action, you will not pay upfront costs or anything at all if we lose. We only take a percentage of your eventual settlement or court award.
The FCRA provides for fee-shifting as well, meaning our clients do not pay out-of-pocket attorneys’ fees or litigation costs. These expenses are paid by the defendant if the case is successful.
Complete our contact form to schedule a consultation with our Minneapolis identity theft lawyers at your convenience.