You received a call from a debt collector about debts that aren’t yours, you find unfamiliar charges on your credit report, you receive phone calls from creditors to verify charges that you never authorized, you receive credit cards for which you did not apply, or you are turned down for credimit because of fraudulent charges that appear on your credit report. Any of these experiences can hit you like a mild heart attack. But once your blood pressure settles, what to do?
How Our Office Can Help
Our office will review your case free of charge. Our office will likely help you prepare a dispute letter to be sent to the credit reporting agencies and/or the creditor or debt collector reporting the fraudulent information. We want to make sure we get it right the first time so we expect to speak with you personally either in person, telephone, video chat and/or e-mail. That process may take 15 minutes or 2 hours. If the errors are cleared up then you owe us nothing. In the event the errors aren’t cleared up then we will explore the next steps, which may include further investigation or hiring us to file a lawsuit. Contact us for a Free Case Review.
You Are a Victim, Now Take Charge
Clearly someone has used your identifying information (i.e., name, address, social security number, account numbers, driver’s license or other information) without your permission. Do this immediately.
Place a fraud alert on your credit report by calling the credit reporting agencies below. When you have a fraud alert a business must verify your identity when accounts are open and may contact you. It stays on your credit report for 90 days.
Experian (888) 397-3742
Equifax (800) 525-6285
Transunion (800) 680-7289
Order your credit reports. You are entitled to receive a free copy of your credit report if you are or believe you will be a victim of identity theft. To learn how to order your credit reports, Click here. Remember, don’t order your credit reports on-line.
File a police report. Go to your local police department and tell them that you believe you are a victim of identity theft.
FTC Affidavit. Obtain a copy here and fill it out. You can also go directly to the FTC to download the form.
Mixed Files or Identity Theft
Sometimes people believe they are victims of identity theft, but really their credit file is being mixed with someone else. A mixed file is when your credit file is merged with someone else’s. That other person may have a similar name, address or social security number.
If your file has been merged with someone else then you may feel like you are a victim of identity theft, because collectors keep harassing you for someone else’s debt or you are being accused of owning money that isn’t yours. In any case, call us for a Free Case Review.
Draft a Dispute Letter to the Credit Reporting Agencies
Review your credit report and circle any information that is incorrect and/or fraudulent, like: accounts, names or misspellings of your name, addresses, date of birth, social security numbers, spouse names, telephone numbers, employment history. Next, draft a letter stating you are or believe you are a victim of identity theft. Also, include a copy of the police report, a copy of the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit and copy of your credit report with the incorrect information circled.
Draft a Dispute Letter to the Creditors or Debt Collectors
Include in the letter a statement that you are or believe you are a victim of identity theft. Also, include a copy of the police report and a copy of the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit. Request documents. By law you are entitled to a copy of the application and business transaction records relating to the fraudulent transactions or accounts opened or applied for using your identity.
How to Help Your Case
- Keep a copy of each letter and document you send. Make copies of the original that includes your signature.
- Send everything certified mail return receipt requested.
- Attach any supporting documents to your letter and list what you are enclosing.
- Save all mail you receive, voicemails, and take notes.
- Hire Us
You can sue any credit reporting agency that won’t delete information that is a result of identity theft. You can also sue any creditor or debt collector that continues to collect an unlawful debt from you. Our office files lawsuits on a contingency fee basis so you don’t pay our fees and costs unless there is a recovery. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and other California laws a successful plaintiff can obtain their attorney fees and costs. When you contact us we will review your case at no charge and tell you whether we can represent you. Contact Us.