Identity theft happens when a thief steals personally identifiable information and uses it online to rack up fraudulent charges or commit other crimes online. You have the right to sue the thief and anyone else who was responsible to recover those losses.
How Do You Know If Someone Has Stolen Your Identity?
Identity theft includes the illegal acquisition and use of your:
- Social security number
- Phone number(s)
- Email address(es)
- Fax numbers
- Credit card number(s)
- Online account information
- Banking information
The trouble with identity theft is that it happens online and can be going on for months or years without you noticing. There are several warning signs to look out for, though.
- Unfamiliar bills for accounts you did not open
- Not receiving bills or mail that you usually get each month
- Calls from fraud agencies about suspicious activity
- Purchases that you didn’t make
- Changes to your account that you did not authorize
- Unfamiliar credit report activity
- Debt collectors contacting you about unfamiliar accounts
- Medical bills for procedures or appointments that you didn’t receive
- Notification that you’ve already filed your income taxes (when you didn’t)
- Notification that your information was part of a security breach
- This means you are at risk for identity theft. If you get this notification anywhere, you should change your passwords and tighten security around those accounts.
These are only a few of the signs of identity theft. If anything ever feels strange or out of place, you have the right to ask for a free credit report from the three major credit bureaus each year. Then, you can check it over to make sure that all the information on your file is true, accurate, and timely.
When Can You Sue Someone for Identity Theft?
The first thing you need to do is to figure out who stole your identity in the first place and get charges pressed against them. Once they are convicted, you can move forward with a case to sue and recover damages.
However, every situation is unique and it’s best to reach out to your local consumer attorney to discuss the details of your case.
How Much Can You Sue for in an Identity Theft Case?
Identity theft cases are often handled in civil court. The amount that you can sue for will depend on your case specifics. There are usually three types of damages, though.
- Compensatory Damages: These cover the financial loss caused by the theft. They include charges you had to pay for, medical bills, credit interest increases, lawyer fees, etc.
- Emotional Damages: These aren’t always easy to recover, but they can include damages for stress and anxiety related to the life-altering state of identity theft. Having an attorney on your side makes recovering emotional damages much more likely.
- Punitive Damages: These are an extra fee designed to serve as a punishment
Putting a dollar amount on a typical identity theft case is hard to do. If you reach out to your local consumer attorney for a free consultation, they will be able to give you a better idea based on your case specifics.
We work on a contingency basis, meaning that if you don’t win your case, we don’t get paid. This means you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, you deserve someone in your corner who will work to help you recover as much as you deserve. Contact our firm to help you decide the best plan of action and move forward with confidence.