Are You a Victim of Identity Theft?

Identity theft takes numerous forms. Sometimes a complete stranger obtains your personal information and uses it to open credit accounts in your name. Sometimes a family member takes advantage of your personal information. In either case, dealing with damages caused by identity thief can be costly and frustrating.

If you or a loved one was the victim of personal identity theft, we want to provide you with the legal help you need. Please fill out our contact form or do not hesitate to call us at (312)739-4200 for a free consultation.

Are You a Victim of Identity Theft? Steps to Take Now

Identity theft is a growing problem. Here are some things to take if you have been the victim of identity theft:

  • Contact the fraud departments of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit file. Consider also placing a credit freeze on your file.
  • Close accounts that have been tampered with and open new ones with new passwords.
  • Contact the creditor for any accounts that were fraudulently opened in your name. Inform them of the fraud and demand that the accounts be closed.
  • Obtain a financial identity theft police report from the locations where the fraud occurred.
  • Contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-438-4338 or use the FTC’s online complaint form to file an FTC identity theft fraud affidavit,
  • Send a copy of the police report, fraud affidavit and a written dispute of any fraudulent accounts to each major credit bureau and send a copy to the creditor for each account. Use certified mail, save copies of everything you send and all responses you receive.
  • If you think that somebody else is using your Social Security number, contact the Social Security Administration’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

Preventing Identity Theft

It is impossible to be 100 percent protected from identity theft, but here are some things you can do to protect yourself:

  • Obtain copies of your credit report annually
  • Shred unwanted documents containing personal information, including bills, invoices, cancelled checks and credit card offers.
  • Report lost or stolen credit cards and checks right away and demand that those accounts be closed.
  • Do not carry your Social Security number, passwords or personal identification numbers with you.
  • Be extremely careful about revealing your Social Security number and birth date to anyone.
  • Do not post personal information on Facebook or other social networking sites.
  • Do not reveal your credit card or bank account numbers on a website unless you are sure the site offers a secure transaction.
  • If you conduct a credit card transaction by phone, make sure you place the call to a number you have verified to be correct. Do not respond to phone calls or emails requesting account information.
  • Promptly review your monthly bank and credit card statements for accuracy.
  • Use strong passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols for financial accounts.

For more information on what to do if you are the victim of identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission website) or the Illinois Attorney General’s Office website).

Contact Us Today

We would be happy to discuss these steps with you. Contact a Chicago identity theft protection lawyer at Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC, for a free consultation. Call us at 312-739-4200. We represent identity theft victims on a contingency basis, so you will pay nothing for our services unless we win or settle your case.

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The consumer protection and class action lawyers of Edelman, Combs, Latturner & Goodwin, LLC, represent clients throughout Illinois, and in federal courts in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan, and will consider substantial cases in other jurisdictions.