Houston Identity Theft Lawyers
Are you a victim of identity theft?
In 2022, the Federal trade Commission (FTC) received over 100,000 complaints of identity theft in Texas. Consumers lost over $ 8.8 billion to scammers in 2022 according to a report from the FTC! According to the FTC, the Houston metro area is ranked # 6 for the incidence of identity theft complaints in 2022.
What should you do if you are a victim of identity theft?
If someone is using your personal identifying information to open new credit accounts, then you should report it and get help from a lawyer. The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act is a consumer protection statute that provides identity theft victims with rights and tools to help them clear their name. For example, if you are a victim of identity theft, you have the right to:
- Freeze you credit report
- File an identity theft report with the Federal Trade Commission
- Add an initial one-year fraud alert to your credit files at Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union
- Add an extended seven-year fraud alert to your credit files at Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union
- Access to free copies of your credit reports
- Dispute fraudulent information that appears on your credit reports
- Block fraudulent information from appearing on your credit reports
- Stop creditors and debt collectors from reporting fraudulent accounts
- Obtain accounts documents from the creditors related to the identity theft
- Stop debt collectors from contacting you to collect on fraudulent debt
Credit Report Freeze
Identity theft victims have the right to freeze their credit files. A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, prevents new creditors from obtaining your credit report from Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. That means when you have a freeze on your credit report, it is less likely that an identity thief can open a new account in your name.
FTC Identity Theft Report
Identity theft victims can document the theft of their identity by filing an Identity Theft Report with the Federal Trade Commission. The Identity Theft Report can be used to help prove to businesses that you have a valid fraud claim. The Identity Theft Report can also make it easier to correct credit report errors caused by identity theft.
One-Year Fraud Alerts
Identity theft victims can add a one-year fraud alert to their credit files at Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. When the fraud alert is added to your file, it puts creditors on notice that you are a fraud victim. Creditors who receive credit reports that include fraud alerts must take reasonable steps to verify who is applying for credit in your name. When you add an initial fraud alert with a nationwide consumer reporting agency, it must notify the other nationwide consumer reporting agencies that it added the fraud alert to your file.
Seven-Year Fraud Alerts
Identity theft victims can also add a seven-year fraud alert to their credit files at Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. The seven-year fraud alert offers similar benefits as the one-year fraud alert but stays on your file for seven years. When a creditor receives your credit report with an extended fraud alert, it must contact you before extending credit in your name. So, be sure to include your cell phone number when you add the extended fraud alert to your credit report. To add a seven-year fraud alert to your credit files, you will need to send one of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies the FTC Identity Theft Report.
Dispute Credit Report Errors
Identity theft victims have the right to dispute fraudulent information on their credit reports to the nationwide consumer reporting agencies, including Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. Credit report disputes should be made in writing and by certified mail to each of the credit bureaus. Upon receipt of a credit report dispute, the credit bureaus must delete or reinvestigate the disputed information. After the credit bureaus investigate your dispute, each must send you the dispute results and let you know whether the disputed information remains, was updated, or removed from your credit report. Click HERE for a sample credit report dispute letter.
Block Fraudulent Information on Credit Reports
Identity theft victims have the right to block fraudulent information from appearing on their credit reports. The credit bureaus must remove disputed items of information (accounts, names, addresses, inquiries, etc) after receipt of an FTC Identity Theft Report. Creditors cannot turn fraudulent accounts over to debt collectors to collect on the fraudulent debt.
Houston Identity Theft Lawyer
The Adkins Firm represents Houston identity theft victims who have errors on credit, employment background and tenant screening reports. We help our clients clear their names. Do you have errors on a credit report, background report or tenant screening report due to fraud? Have you disputed the error and the fraudulent information was verified that it belongs to you? If you answered yes, then you may have a claim under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act. Please note, there is a statute of limitations that may bar you from recovering for your damages. Don’t wait. Contact us for a free case review.