How To Sue A Company For Identity Theft?

3rd Party entities can be held liable for data breaches leading to identity theft.

Learn how to sue a company for identity theft.

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When any other person uses your personal identifying information, like your name, credit card, Social Security Number (SSN) or bank account numbers without your permission. This is classed as identity theft.

Typically these personal details will be used to fraudulently obtain money, goods, or services at your expense.

Consulting an attorney will allow you to understand your options for recourse and against whom this recourse can be actioned against.

How Do I Sue A Company For Identity Theft?

Naturally you can file a lawsuit against the identity thief, but these criminals are usually difficult to find.

In cases where the actual thief cannot be identified or located, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party that had access to your social security number, credit card number or other personal information. For example:

  • Banks,
  • Other financial institutions,
  • Creditors,
  • Retailers,
  • Government entities,  
  • Employers, and
  • Any other business that may have negligently handled your personal information

The type of liability will differ between parties because it depends on how the identity thief and the third party are related, if at all.

Therefore, in order to hold a company responsible for the damages incurred it will be necessary to initiate a civil lawsuit in either state, federal, or small claims court.

Appearance in state or federal courts will require guidance by an attorney, whereas the small claims court does not permit legal representation and limits the amount claimable to less than $10,000, there is no limit set in federal and state court.

How Much Can You Sue For Identity Theft?

When suing a company for allowing identity theft the victim may be able to sue in civil court and potentially recover;

  • Compensatory damages
  • This is the most common type of damages award issued and will cover financial losses caused by the crime.
  • Punitive damages
  • In rare and extraordinary instances of identity theft, a victim may be able to claim punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to both provide the victim with additional monies, and to punish and deter the defendant from committing future offenses.
  • Emotional damages
  • If the victim suffered emotional distress (e.g. anxiety) due to the theft, they may be able to recover emotional damages. However, it is often very difficult to obtain these damages.
  • Injunctive relief
  • Injunctions are court orders that require a defendant to take or refrain from a certain action. For identity theft purposes, the court may order the defendant to apologize, notify persons about the data exposure, and possibly release the victim from financial liability of debts they did not cause.

What can be recovered will ultimately rely on the type of information that was stolen during the breach, the extent of the damages, and the degree of negligence or failure of responsibility leading to the breach by the company.

Obtaining the fairest compensation will depend on the various legal procedures and framework governing the form of identity theft and how well you are able to justify your case through the requirements they establish.

Bottom Line

Victims of identity theft have the right to seek compensation from third party entities entrusted with the information that was stolen. Victims can initiate a lawsuit to sue a company by enlisting the services of a reputable identity theft attorney, or by making use of the small claims court to initiate a case on their own behalf.  

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If you’re a victim of credit reporting/background check errors, or debt collection harassment, it’s time to take a stand. Contact us today & reclaim your financial future.