Gorski Law
Pennylvania & New Jersey Consumer Rights Law Firm
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Recognizing ID Theft

Identity theft in the credit context, typically occurs in one of three ways: someone uses an existing credit account to make unauthorized purchases; someone opens credit account without your knowledge or permission; or someone assumes your identity. Information about how to spot these instances of identity theft is provided and what a consumer should do once identity theft is spotted.

Recognizing Identity Theft

Identity theft in the credit context, typically occurs in one of three ways: (1) someone uses an existing credit account to make unauthorized purchases; (2) someone opens credit account without your knowledge or permission; and (3) someone assumes your identity.

Unauthorized Purchases

The best way to spot this type of identity theft is to monitor your credit accounts on a regular basis to identity a charge you did not make. Once you see this, report the unauthorized charges to your bank and deactivate your account until you get a new account number. More good news is that most banks have technology now that recognizes a suspicious transaction before you may even recognize that the fraudulent transaction occurred.  The bank will investigate the charge and should remove the transaction from your statement. If the bank if refusing to remove a transaction from your statement that is a result of identity theft, you may have a claim against the bank for failing to remove the transaction and should consider consulting a lawyer. The law places time limits on reporting the identity theft to the bank in order to challenge a bank's refusal to removal a fraudulent transaction so it is critical that you report any fraud as soon as you identify it on your statement.

Fraudulent Accounts

Fraudulent accounts can ordinarily be spotted easily on your credit report. The accounts typically have been opened recently and are maxed out and delinquent. You also may see an address or multiple addresses on your credit report that you have never lived at. If you identify fraudulent accounts on your credit report you need to follow a specific procedure to have the accounts removed from your credit report and closed by the creditor which you can review below. 

If you do not spot the fraudulent account(s) on your credit report, they will usually come to your attention because of collection activity (e.g, collection calls or a collection letter). Debt collectors are usually suspicious of individual who claim an account is the result of identity theft and typically are not very helpful with resolving the issue since they have little incentive to do so. You have numerous rights against a debt collector pursuing you for a debt that does not belong to you which you can review in the debt collector harassment learning page. You also still need to follow a specific procedure to have the accounts removed from your credit report and closed by the creditor.

Identity Assumption

A less common form of identity theft by comparison is when a perpetrator literally attempts to impersonate you. This type of fraud can involve more than just credit transactions and can be more difficult to bring to an end. Examples of identity assumption include: committing a crime and presenting to the police a false identity, assuming another person's tax identity and filing tax returns in the person's name, claiming government benefits in another person's name, seeking healthcare using another person's insurance, buying property in another person's name.  Correcting this kind of identity theft can be complicated. Consider consulting a lawyer immediately if this kind of fraud happens to you.

Do You Need Help?

If you are a victim of identity theft and have difficulty removing fraudulent accounts from your credit report, removing fraudulent charges from your bank statement, or are having difficulty with debt collector harassment, Gorski Law may be able to help. Gorski Law can remove fraudulent accounts from you credit report or bank statement, stop debt collector harassment and obtain compensation for any harm you have experienced as result of the these companies failure to correct the identity theft that occurred. Initial consultations are always free. Call 215-330-2100 or email the firm to schedule a consultation now. 

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