Identity Theft - Who can help?
Should you ever become a victim of identity theft, the first question that you should ask is “Who can help?” This latecomer crime is a relatively new threat and has come about and is evolving with the advent of more commonplace Information Technology. This tends to increase the levels of frustration and depression for an Identity theft victim in that not much jurisdiction and legal laws protecting and sheltering a victim are available at the present time thought the situation is slowly improving in that direction.
When you are suspect that you have fallen prey of Identity theft then immediately seek legal counsel, especially if you have difficulty clearing up your credit history, or your case is complicated and involves a lot of money. you may also decied to take legal action against creditors and / or credit bureaus if they are not co-operative in removing fraudulent entries from your credit report or if you feel someone has been negligent in this regard.
You could also call the local Bar Association to find an lawyer who specializes in consumer law and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. A lawyer can help you recover from the bad effects of the fraud and determine whether your rights under various credits, banking, Social Security and other laws have been violated.
Identity Theft - Tell the Police
You should also immediately report the crime to all police and sheriff's departments who have jurisdiction in your case. File a police report. If the bank or other authorities do not ask you to file a police report, do it regardless.
You should give the police as much documented evidence as possible regarding the crime. Remember to obtain a copy of your police report; the copy of the police report is very useful in all your future correspondence with clients and banks, etc.
Do not manipulate the case and explain it to the creditors and others who require verification of your case. Give them the telephone number of your fraud investigator. Credit card companies, your bank, and the insurance company may require you to show the report in order to verify the crime. Notify the fraud units of the credit reporting companies. Report to them the theft of your credit cards or numbers. Insist that your accounts be flagged. Add a full but concise victim's statement to your report. You should also contact all your credit card issuers - both by phone and of course in writing. Keep a copy of the letter. Ask for replacement cards with different account numbers. Insist that the old accounts be processed because when this statement is reported to the credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.
Unfortunately sometimes victims of identity theft are wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the identity thief. Should a civil judgment be entered in your name for actions taken by your imposter, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you have been the victim of identity theft. If you are wrongfully prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the state Department of Justice and the FBI. Get help in clearing your name. This is obviously important as delay in such matters could cost you further. This could impact upon your reputation and business.
Psychological counselling may also assist you in dealing with the stress and anxiety commonly experienced by victims. It may help to realise that you are not alone, that there in fact many, many others in the USA and now ever moreso in the UK who have undergone this situation and have survived and are now getting their lives back to normal. Identity theft victims have often reported that they feel they were in some way to blame and feel remorseful. They can also feel cursed, violated, even powerless, due to the fact that few, if any, of the authorities who have been notified of the crime, step forward to help the victim.
Identity Theft - Counselling.
Discuss your situation with a friend or counsellor. Your close family members could be great pacifiers in these situations. You could contact the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse for information on how to network with other victims. You could share with them your experience and learn from them what they have or are suffering. You should also write to your state and federal legislators and demand stronger privacy protection and fraud assistance by creditors and credit bureaus by explaining your situation through your personal fraud investigator. You should also contact Privacy Rights Clearinghouse for information on any pending state or federal legislation.
Finally, without consulting your fraud investigator refuse to pay any bill or portion of a bill, do not cover any cheques which were written and / or cashed after the fraudster invaded your privacy. Ensure that your credit rating will not be permanently affected, and that no legal action will be taken against you. If any merchant, financial institution or collection agency suggests to the contrary, simply restate your willingness to co-operate, but do not allow yourself to be coerced into paying fraudulent bills. Your counsellor or lawyer can be of great assistnace to you in this circumstance.