Can you recover from identity theft?
If you’ve had someone unknowingly charge enormous amounts on your credit card or have ever been a victim of any sort of identity theft, you know how difficult it is to recover that identity. No matter how difficult it might seem, it is possible to recover your identity after it’s been stolen. At minimum you’re going to spend about seven hours recovering your identity. More likely you’re going to spend a day or even several days, and possibly months, recovering it. This means you’re going to spend time contacting banks, governmental agencies like the IRS or driver license departments and other institutions getting your information updated and corrected.
In Florida, if you’ve been charged with identity theft, you’re facing a second-degree felony conviction. If you have been arrested and jailed on identity theft charges or other White collar crimes in Cocoa and Palm Bay, FL, you can get immediate bail help from Ammediate Bail Bonds by calling (321) 631-2663.
How identity theft happens
Identity theft occurs in a variety of ways. Someone could steal your wallet or purse, get access to debit and credit cards or driver’s licenses, Social Security cards, or other identity cards and use them to buy things, steal money or commit other fraudulent acts. Others might steal your identity by hacking into social media or other online accounts. Still, others might be desperate enough to hunt for personal information in your trash.
What are the four types of identity theft?
Anytime someone takes your personal data—account numbers, addresses, etc.—you’ve been a victim of identity theft. The types of identity theft include:
- Medical: This occurs when someone uses your identifying information such as insurance information to get medical care for free
- Criminal: This occurs when someone gives false information about who they are to law enforcement during an arrest or criminal investigation.
- Financial: This occurs when someone uses financial information like stolen credit cards or bank account numbers to buy stuff or services or to get other information.
- Child: This occurs when someone uses a child’s information—Social Security numbers, etc.—for personal gain, including falsifying information for jobs or housing applications.
Can identity theft happen to anyone?
Anyone can steal your identity and anyone can be an identity theft victim. As many as 9 million people in the U.S., according to the Federal Trade Commission, have been victimized by this crime in some form or another. While this crime could happen to anyone, it’s not as common as one might perceive, given it receives so much attention.
How can I find out if someone is using my identity?
Many times people remain unaware their identity has been stolen until serious damage has been done by the thief. Before serious damage occurs, some warning signs to look for include:
- Unexplained withdrawals appear on your bank account or unfamiliar charges appear on your credit reports.
- Checks are refused and cards are declined for insufficient funds.
- Calls come in from debt collectors on debts you don’t owe.
- Bills or other mail stops appearing in your mailbox.
- You receive medical bills or health plans reject claims for procedures you didn’t have.
- You receive notices from the IRS that you filed more than one tax return.
- Businesses notify you of data breaches at their companies.
What to do if someone steals your identity
If someone has stolen your identity, not only do you want to report the incident to the police but also you want to report it to the Federal Trade Commission, which handles identity theft reports. At the identitytheft.gov website, you can document the theft with a report that proves to businesses your identity was stolen.
You then want to follow up by placing both a one-year and seven-year fraud alert on your credit report through one of three national credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion. You can also get the credit bureaus to remove any fraudulent information from your credit report. The credit bureaus also must investigate any dispute of information on your report if you send them a written notice of the dispute.
Creditors and debt collectors also have to stop reporting fraudulent accounts when you submit the FTC report to them. You can also request debt collectors stop contacting you.
Gather all the information you can about the fraudulent accounts or transactions. Add these to the FTC report, and also give them to law enforcement to aid in investigations.
The FTC site has a full list of available options to take when trying to recover from getting your identity stolen.
Do police investigate identity theft?
Unless your identity was stolen locally, it’s difficult for local police to investigate and prosecute these crimes. That’s because they often take place in multiple jurisdictions, out of state, or in other countries. Still, it’s good to file a report with the police, along with the FTC. Not only can this help you as you try to recover your identity, but the police can also pass the information along to other agencies when investigations occur.
Are identity theft protection services worth it?
Several companies offer services to protect you from identity theft. While these services claim to protect you from the crime, what most actually do is monitor your information and flag it to alert you if something fraudulent has occurred. They do not stop fraudulent practices from occurring. These services are generally only worthwhile if you have already been a victim of theft or are at high risk or if you don’t think you’ll actively monitor your information yourself.
Can identity theft be expunged?
In Florida, if you are convicted of identity theft, that record currently cannot be expunged from your criminal record. This is true even if someone uses your identity to commit criminal acts but you are mistakenly arrested and charged with the crime. If you have been arrested for identity theft in Cocoa and Palm Bay, FL, you can get prompt help with bail by calling Ammediate Bail Bonds at (321) 631-2663.