Do I need a lawyer for identity theft ?

Over 10 million people are the victims of identity theft each year, and it can take countless hours and hundreds of dollars to repair the damage. If you have the time and energy, however, it is likely you can resolve the issue of identity theft on your own.

If, however, you do not have the time to solve the issues, including contacting the appropriate government agencies and affected businesses, writing compelling letters to concerned parties to document your case and following up on the case, you can always seek legal help.

Steps to fight identity fraud

If you do decide to fight this on your own, you will need to do the following:

1. Contact the police and the Federal Trade Commission By contacting the police you are creating a police report which can be used to convince creditors your identity has been stolen. Next, you will also need to contact the Federal Trade Commission hotline at 877-438-4338 and file a complaint.

2. Keep records of everything. This means you must keep records of all of your correspondence. Make copies and send everything certified mail.

3. Contact all three major credit bureaus and review all of your accounts. You can also put a fraud alert on your account. The requirements for an Identity Theft Report are listed on the FTC's website at www.ftc.com.

4. Contact all of the appropriate creditors and companies and have them monitor your accounts. You can also have credit card companies issue new credit card numbers.

5. Place a security free on your credit file. After the freeze is in place the credit agency will stop reporting your credit information to third parties or any company (except those exempted by law).

Different types of Identify theft

Not all victims of identity theft will have the same information stolen or used. For example, someone may decide to steal your Social Security number. If this happens you will need to contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). They are charged with handling most identity theft complaints.

If someone has stolen your drivers' license number you will need to contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state. If your passport has been stolen you will need to contact the U.S. State Department's Passport Services Department.

When should I hire a lawyer for identity theft?

There are several reasons you might decide to hire a lawyer. For instance, if someone commits a crime while using your name or steals your medical identity, an identity theft lawyer can help get those errors off your record. An identity lawyer may also have more information and knowledge about current laws.

Second, you may also need to hire a lawyer if you have not been able to get the information you need from uncooperative creditors, credit bureaus, or debt collectors. If you encounter resistance from anyone refusing to remove fraudulent information or if someone refuses to send you necessary files to resolve your issues, a lawyer can help.

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