Identity theft is a serious crime that can cause significant harm to your reputation, finances, relationships, and more. To ensure your identity is not stolen, you have to take the proper precautions. However, if your identity has already been stolen, it is important that you know what to do to rectify the situation quickly. There are many things you should do when your identity is stolen. One of these steps is hiring an attorney who specializes in identity theft cases. This article will teach you how to find the best attorney for your needs.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft and identity fraud are used interchangeably, but while the latter is a broad category of crime involving false identification, the former only refers to someone using someone else’s personal information.
What Does an Identity Theft Attorney Do?
It is fortunate that there are many resources available to help you cope with identity theft, and furthermore protect your identity in the future. One such resource is an attorney who specializes in the rights of those who have been victims of identity theft and also knows about federal and state laws related to this topic.
An identity theft attorney has a lot on their plate. These attorneys have to be able to handle many different aspects of the case. They will help you file paperwork, draft documents, and more. The first step you should take is finding an attorney with a good reputation so you can trust they will do a good job on your case. You should also find someone who has experience in cases related to the type of crime you have been victimized by.
How Can an Identity Theft Lawyer Help You?
Recovering your identity and clearing your name can be difficult and time-consuming, but can be done in the aftermath. The following are some of the things actions that you can take before getting an attorney:
- File a police report
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FDC)
- Contacting financial institutions to initiate fraud alerts or close accounts
- Contacting credit bureaus to remove fraudulent information from a credit report
- Contacting creditors or debt collection agencies
If you contact an identity theft attorney, they can help to communicate with the entities that are demanding payment for your debt. They will also understand their obligations legally and if you retain them after contacting agencies, like debt collection services, then these entities cannot contact you directly.
Identity theft attorneys have experience communicating with such entities as well as understanding their legal obligation to work with or on behalf of a victim of identity theft in order to try and fix any damage done.
Victims have rights, not just from actual harm incurred but also time spent trying to fix the problem which is where many state laws provide additional remedies such as being able to file suit against perpetrators and recover damages. In Florida, victims who suffer from this crime may do so by filing a lawsuit against those responsible which not only releases liability but it can lead way towards triple damages being awarded due to the amount incurred.
How to Contact a Lawyer for Identity Theft
If you need to contact an attorney to assist you with identity theft, here’s what to do:
- Confirm the scope of representation: Ask them whether they will be able to communicate with relevant entities about your records or if they can represent you in court.
- Ask about their experience: It is important that you know how experienced he or she is and how many cases this person has handled that are similar in nature.
- Review the fee arrangement: You should ask them what kind of arrangements there are, specifically whether it will be a contingency fee, flat fees rates and hourly fees as well as when a retainer may be required.
To learn more about identity theft and how to protect yourself, visit FindLaw’s “Identity Theft” section or the tools and resources provided by the federal Office for Victims of Crime. The Department of Justice website has an identity theft quiz that you can take to determine whether you’re taking the right steps in protecting your identity. If not, consult a consumer protection lawyer as soon as possible.