For Someone Who Is A Victim Of Identity Theft, What Legal Actions Can They Take?

For someone who is a victim of identity theft, what legal actions can they take? If you have a service like Credit Alert then you just call the 1-800 number and you have already registered... When taking...

When taking a legal action against a thief, first organize your case. Be prepared and document everything that was done, said, and ask for names of the people you talked to on the phone.

"Accurate and complete records will help you resolve your identity theft case more quickly," says Lori Lamb, a credit correction and education supervisor with Springboard Non-Profit Consumer Credit Management. She has worked in the credit industry for 12 years.

According to the online publication Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft at, have your case organized, and plan it out when you contact a company. Don't assume the first person you talk to will give you all the information you will need. Prepare a list of questions, as well as a list of specific information about your identity theft. Do not end the call until you are comfortable with the information that has been given to you. Ask to speak to a manager if your questions weren't answered thoroughly. Write down everything that was said; get their names, and the date the conversation occurred.

Next, follow up the conversation in writing and make copies for yourself. Mail the letter certified, to make sure the recipient receives the letter, and document when the representative received the letter. Get a police report and make a copy, and mail it to the three credit agencies to verify that your identity was stolen. Send copies only, and mail everything certified.

Also, request from the Federal Trade Commission an identity theft affidavit. The consumer should fill the report out and mail to each creditor, bank, or credit bureau to request that the situation be investigated and any fraudulent accounts be deleted, says Lamb.

Keep everything that was documented for a couple of years in case something wasn't taken off of your credit report. The documents hold the person you spoke to accountable for what they said they would do to revolve the issue. Dealing with identity theft will be time consuming and frustrating. However, most cases can be resolved by being assertive, organized, and knowledgeable about your legal rights. Read about the laws governing identity theft and know when to take action. Some companies have a time limit as to when a victim can inform the credit companies of identity theft. "Don't delay," says Lamb.

If money was taken from a checking or savings account, then different laws determine what actions a victim should take. According to the FTC website, if a thief stole checks, then state laws protect a victim against the fraud committed. If the thief used an electronic fund transfer then federal law applies. Ask your financial institution, so you know which laws do apply to your circumstance. In regards to the electronic fund withdrawals, there is an act that provides a victim protection involving ATM transactions, debit card, or any other transactions.

"It also limits your liability for unauthorized electronic fund transfers," the website says. A victim has 60 days to report fraudulent transactions to their institution. If the ATM or debit card was stolen, contact the bank immediately so the card can be canceled and the victim issued a new one.

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