Although there are many different types of identity theft, the most recognizable type is financial; credit card theft, bank accounts, loans, for example. Financial identity theft accounts for about 25% of all identity theft cases. It is also probably the easiest to deal with as you try to recover from the theft. All you would most likely have to do would be:
- File a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) through the identitytheft.gov website
- File a police report
- Use the complaint and police report to deal with whatever adverse financial effects the theft might have caused
- Take the time and requisite steps to repair your damaged financial reputation
Other forms of identity theft aren’t as straightforward to solve. These include:
- Medical and insurance identity theft
- Criminal identity theft
- Tax identity theft
Many of these other types of identity theft will require the assistance of someone who understands the various sections of civil or criminal law within which they fall; meaning you will need an identity theft lawyer by your side.
What Does an Identity Theft Lawyer Do?
An identity theft lawyer is a professional who is well versed in dealing with the intricate details that come into play as you try to recover your stolen identity. As we have already mentioned, recovering your stolen identity will call for open and clear communication with various entities including financial institutions and federal authorities.
An identity theft lawyer is someone who speaks the same language as these entities and is better placed to negotiate on your behalf. They also work at getting all parties involved to work in unison towards the same goal – clearing your name.
Think about it:
- How good are you at telling creditors that you can’t pay them because your identity was stolen?
- How easy would it be for you to talk to your insurance company and tell them that your premiums should go up because you didn’t authorize all those fraudulent medical procedures on your record?
- How convincing will you be to the police when you tell them that you are not the real culprit responsible for the crime that was committed with your name attached to it?
Most people wouldn’t even know where to begin, and even if they took the time to research and found all the necessary steps involved in clearing their name, they simply would not have the time needed to do all that running around. That is where your identity theft lawyer comes into play.
Your identity lawyer:
- Knows who they need to talk to in any given scenario
- Have connections in the legal system to get things moving faster
- They speak the same legalese language that is often necessary for criminal proceedings
- They have the legal weight to put your case in front of the right people
Perhaps the best reason as to why you should hire an identity theft lawyer is because of all those debtors and creditors; they will be prohibited from contacting you directly. Your lawyer will advise you on whether or not you can seek restitution for your lost financial credibility as well as for the time and effort it takes you to get your good reputation back.
Your lawyer will identify the right person to sue so that you get some kind of compensation for your emotional turmoil as a result of the identity fraud you have experienced.
Did you know that in Florida, a victim of identity theft can legally recover up to three times the amount of damages incurred? What about your state? What kind of restitution laws do you have? These are the types of questions that your identity theft lawyer will answer for you.
As is the case with every scenario that involves finding a lawyer, there are certain aspects of the relationship that must be addressed before you put pen to paper and hire one.
- Find out how experienced they are: the best types of lawyers for any case are those that specialize in those specific circumstances. For example, you wouldnâ€™t hire a tax lawyer for a criminal proceeding involving armed robbery, would you? Of course not! You will need a criminal lawyer specializing in robbery cases. The same goes for identity theft; you will need a lawyer who specializes in identity theft and has a vast wealth of knowledge and experience in the field.
- Confirm the scope of the representation offered: you will need to know what exactly you are getting from your lawyer. Are they simply limited to communicating with your debtors or will they also help with the correction and restoration of your records? Will they sue the culpable perpetrators or just represent you in court should it come to that?
- What is it going to cost you? You must ask about the fees. Some lawyers charge based on a contingency fee while others charge a flat rate or an hourly fee. All this must be stipulated in writing and clearly explained to you before you sign anything.
While it is true that you could probably handle most identity theft-related issues on your own considering there is a wealth of information about the necessary procedures online; it is also true that these processes can be very taxing. You need someone who does this for a living to help you deal with some of the legal landmines involved. An experienced identity theft lawyer can also help ensure that you are filing all the proper paperwork and you are following all the right steps that are needed.
You need someone who is well-versed in negotiating with big corporations and getting them to see your side of the story; someone who has been doing this for long enough to know all the players involved and how to get them to sympathize with your case.
Do you need an identity theft lawyer? Chances are the answer to this question is yes, you do need one. You have to make sure that it is the right kind of lawyer. One who will put your case first and do everything in their power to help you navigate those treacherous and stressful waters that come with stolen identities.