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ID THEFT NEWS – WEEKLY UPDATE

Identity Theft & the Fair Credit Reporting Act

12 million consumers a year become victims of identity theft.  The harmful effects of identity theft are life changing and last a lifetime.  Victims may not know their identity has been stolen until they receive calls from debt collectors, get denied credit or employment, or find credit report errors.    

What can consumers do to protect their identities and credit report? The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a federal law that provides identity theft victims with rights. For example, identity theft victims have the right to request two (2) free credit reports every 12 months and can place a fraud alert (90 day and extended 7 year) on their credit file.  

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) also gives victims of fraud or identity theft the right to dispute credit report errors.  Victims may have errors on the credit reports, such as incorrect accounts, names, public records, addresses, date of birth or inquiries.  The credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union) must conduct a reasonable “reinvestigation” of the information disputed by a consumer.  The credit reporting agencies must block fraudulent information in 4 business days if they receive an identity theft report.

Download your free identity theft affidavit HERE. 

If the credit reporting agencies break the law, then consumers have the right to sue them in federal court for actual and statutory damages, plus attorneys’ fees.  Micah Adkins represents victims of identity theft in federal court all over the country.  Here are some of the identity theftstories we are am following:  

ALABAMA

BIRMINGHAM – Birmingham Social Security Administration worker sentenced for identity theft
Alabama’s13.com

BIRMINGHAM, AL -. A former Social Security Administration employee was sentenced in federal court for an identity theft scheme. Manuel “Trey” Chaney III was sentenced to 70 months in prison, according to US Attorney Joyce White Vance. Chaney, a former

Indian-American gets 2 years jail term
Hindu Business Line

An Indian-American along with two others from Alabama has been sentenced for his role in an identity theft and tax fraud scheme, the US Justice Department has said. While Indian-American Narendra Kumar Patel was sentenced to 24 months in prison, the …

FLORIDA

JACKSONVILLE – Identity Theft
WJXT Jacksonville

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes today. If you’ve ever had your personal information stolen, you know crooks can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new phantom accounts, even get medical

MIAMI – From fraud-ridden Florida, Sen. Bill Nelson targets tax ID theft
MiamiHerald.com (blog)

“I am pleased to join Senator Nelson as a cosponsor of the Identify Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act. I have long believed that easy access to Social Security numbers is a significant source of identity theft, notably fraud related to tax refunds …

MISSISSIPPI

JACKSON – Woman pleads guilty to identity theft
San Francisco Chronicle

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Byram woman has pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in connection with obtaining a bank loan in someone else’s name, then spending the proceeds. In a joint news release, U.S. Attorney Gregory K. Davis and FBI Special …

NORTH CAROLINA

CHARLOTTE – Man sentenced in $50000 identity theft scheme
WBTV

Walker pleaded guilty in September 2011 to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He has been in local federal custody since May 2011 and will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation …

OKLAHOMA

TULSA – Woman gets prison time for mail theft, identity theft
Tulsa World

A Tulsa woman was sentenced Thursday to two years in prison after pleading guilty to charges of aggravated identity theft and possession of stolen mail. Jennifer Kathryn Steffen, 29, admitted in a plea agreement filed Jan. 8 that she opened mailboxes …

Sheriff’s Office busts identity theft ring
Tulsa World

A traffic stop Friday evening led Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office investigators to an alleged identity theft ring with potentially hundreds of victims across the country. Four people were arrested, including the accused ring leader, Tammy Marie Petitt …

NATIONAL NEWS

It’s Tax ID-Theft Season
Wall Street Journal

What is worse than filing your tax return? Finding out someone already did—using your name and Social Security number to grab an illegal refund. For many victims, this terrible surprise is happening now. More than one-quarter of taxpayers wait to file

SEC to Require Firms to Create Identity Theft Programs
Credit Union Times

The program should include policies and procedures designed to identify relevant types of identity theft red flags, detect the occurrence of those red flags, respond appropriately to them and provide periodic program updates, the SEC said Wednesday. 

Are you an identity theft victim? Do you have credit report errors? Have the credit bureaus “verified” fraudulent information and refused to delete the items from your credit reports?

Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), consumers have the right to dispute credit report errors. The credit reporting agencies must block information from appearing in your credit report that is the result of identity theft. The credit bureaus must block the information within 4 business days of receipt of an identity theft report. Federal law gives you the right to sue the credit bureaus if they fail to perform a reasonable investigation or refuse to investigate your credit report disputes.   

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