Victims of identity theft can find themselves facing serious legal and financial repercussions. A Gainesville identity theft lawyer at Bogin, Munns & Munns can help you recover your accounts, recoup some of your financial losses, and mitigate the damages.
Nearly half of Americans Experience Identity Theft
According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), 47 percent of Americans were victims of financial identity theft in 2020. That same year, Florida received more than 100,000 reports of identity theft, the 11th highest number of complaints in the nation.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to commit fraud, including your:
- Phone number
- Utility account numbers
- Medical insurance numbers
- Social Security number
- Credit card or bank account numbers
Types of Identity Theft
Thieves can do a lot of harm with the above information. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), there are three main types of identity theft:
- Misuse of existing accounts – Most identity theft victims (85 percent) report experiencing misuse of one or more of their current accounts, including credit cards, bank accounts, telephone and internet services, and insurance.
- Creation of new accounts – This type of theft occurs when someone uses your personal information to open new, fraudulent accounts. Sometimes, a thief will open multiple accounts using your information.
- Misuse of personal information – Fifteen percent of victims report misuse of their personal information for non-financial reasons, such as obtaining medical care, housing, a driver’s license, or a Social Security card. This type of theft is also used to commit tax fraud and steal tax returns.
To consult with an experienced identity theft lawyer serving Gainesville, call 855-686-6752
How Can You Tell if a Thief Is Using Your Identity?
You may be the victim of identity theft if you:
- Notice withdrawals from your checking or savings account that you did not make (or were not made by someone else with access to the account, such as your spouse)
- Have unexplained charges on your credit cards
- Stop receiving bills and other mail
- Receive utility bills for accounts you did not open
- Get medical bills for treatment you and others covered by your policy did not receive
- Notice unrecognized accounts on your credit report, or your credit score suddenly changes significantly
- Receive notice from the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) that someone used your Social Security number to get a tax refund or for a job
If You Believe Someone Is Using Your Identity, Act Immediately
If you think someone stole and is fraudulently using your identity, you should act quickly to help limit your damages. According to Consumer.gov, you should:
- Contact your bank, credit card company, insurance provider, and any other company where you know the thief used your identity
- Explain the situation and ask that the company freeze your accounts
- Change your PIN numbers
- Report the crime to the Gainesville Police Department and the FTC at IdentityTheft.gov or by calling 1-877-438-4338
- Contact the credit bureaus and – if someone stole your identity, you can get a free credit report from all three bureaus and have them place a free fraud alert on your account for 90 days
- Reach out to our Gainesville identity theft lawyers for advice and assistance with your next steps
Gainesville Identity Theft Lawyer Near Me 855-686-6752
Our Attorneys Can Help You Remedy the Damage Done by Identity Theft
Our attorneys can help you untangle the mess often left in the wake of identity theft and limit your financial losses. We will fight to have fraudulent charges waived, releasing you from debts you did not accumulate.
If the police catch the perpetrator, we can help you hold them legally responsible for your financial damages. In some cases, we may be able to help you seek compensation from a liable third party, such as a bank or other institution that behaved negligently when protecting your personal information. With a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit, we can help you recover:
- Economic damages – We can help you seek compensation for financial losses suffered because of identity theft, including the value of fraudulent charges, fees and penalties, and other stolen assets.
- Noneconomic damages – We can help you pursue awards for stress, anxiety, and emotional distress caused by identity theft.
- Punitive damages – If an institution that did not protect your information did so purposely or due to gross negligence, the court may order that they pay punitive damages.
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What Can You Do to Protect Your Identity in the Future?
If you have suffered from having your identity stolen, you know it is not something you want to have happen again. You can take several steps to protect your identity in the future – both online and in the real world:
- Do not post personal information, such as your name, address, or birthdate, to social media or elsewhere online
- Only give your Social Security number when required and do not carry your Social Security card on your person
- Use hard-to-guess passwords and PIN numbers and change them often
- Shred or cut up mail, documents, or cards with your personal information or account numbers before throwing them away
- Keep credit cards, insurance forms, and other financial documents in a secure location, especially if you live with roommates or people work in your home
- Password protect electronic devices, such as computers, tablets, and cell phones
- Do not download strange files or open or reply to spam emails
- Do not give personal information over the telephone unless absolutely necessary
- When traveling, only carry essential forms of identification and methods of payment
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Reach Out to Bogin, Munns & Munns for Help Today
Our Gainesville identity theft lawyers are here to help you get your life back on track. Contact our offices at (352) 332-7688 for a free consultation. A member of our team is available 24/7 to take your call and answer your questions.