Being a victim of identity theft can be terrifying and devastating, especially because you may not even realize you have been targeted until damage has already been done. If you believe you may have been the victim of identity theft, it is essential to contact a credit lawyer in Ashburn. If your credit has been damaged by identity theft, you may need to begin the credit dispute process. Keep reading to learn about three common types of identity theft for which you should be on the lookout.
Child ID Theft
It may seem surprising, but children are often targeted for identity theft because of the delay that is associated with catching the theft and because their information can be easily obtained from schools or relatives. Schools often require personal information from students, and a child’s Social Security number can make it easy for an identity thief to do everything from opening a new credit card to applying for a car loan. Adults should look out for obvious signs, such as mail from the IRS claiming that the child did not pay income taxes, and less obvious signs, such as struggling to obtain a loan when the child grows up.
Medical ID Theft
Medical identity theft is another situation in which paperwork is certainly part of the problem. Unfortunately, thieves target healthcare companies because they believe they may be an easy source of personal information. It is essential that patients review the data privacy statement provided by their health care professional, file a credit report dispute if there is an issue, and contact a credit lawyer.
Tax ID Theft
Everyone files taxes in the same time frame each year, which makes it an ideal time for criminals to target individuals for identity theft and defraud the Internal Revenue Service. One simple way to avoid identity theft is to file your taxes early. If you are worried that your identity has been stolen after you have filed your taxes, get in touch with an identity theft attorney right away.
In order to protect your financial wellbeing, it is essential to review your credit report on a regular basis. However, if you discover a credit report error, you may be unsure of how to proceed. Credit report errors can affect your ability to obtain loans and lines of credit, so it is important to have these mistakes corrected as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are laws in place to protect consumer rights, and a skilled credit report lawyer near Ashburn can help you understand these laws.
Filing a credit report dispute involves notifying the credit bureau that has reported the mistake—your credit report lawyer can help you complete this process. Federal law requires the credit bureau to investigate any credit report mistakes within 30 days in most scenarios and remove any credit errors from your report. Unfortunately, the credit bureaus do not always move quickly to resolve these errors, but a credit report attorney can help guide you through the process of resolving your credit report dispute.
Identity theft is a serious crime that is broadly defined as the fraudulent use of another individual’s personal information, typically for financial gain. Many different types of personal information may be stolen and used for fraudulent purposes, such as an individual’s Social Security number, credit card number, and bank account number. Anyone can become a victim of identity theft—and millions do, each year. You can protect yourself by becoming aware of the types of identity theft and how they may be committed. If you suspect that someone may have stolen your personal information, you can visit a consumer protection law firm near Leesburg to consult an identity theft lawyer about your rights and options under consumer law.
Understanding Applicable Laws
Identity theft is a crime under multiple laws. As your identity theft lawyer can explain to you, it is a federal crime to transfer or use the identification of another individual without lawful authority and with the intent to commit any unlawful activity. This offense is detailed in the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998. It applies to any unlawful activity that violates federal law or that is considered to be a felony under local or state laws. Congress took an even more aggressive approach toward dealing with identity thieves with the passage of the Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act of 2004, which requires extended sentences for offenders under certain circumstances.
Distinguishing the Types of Identity Theft
There are many different ways in which a criminal can commit identity theft. They range from the physical theft of a person’s wallet to sophisticated computer crimes. An identity thief may steal discarded mail that contains sensitive information. He or she could even steal personal information by using discarded junk mail, such as credit card offers. This is why your identity theft attorney may recommend that you invest in a document shredder. Credit card thieves frequently try to obtain personal information through phishing, which is the practice of sending an email to a victim that requests sensitive information. The email may appear to be from an official entity, such as the individual’s bank. When in doubt, it is best to avoid clicking on links contained within emails.