A Guide on Prosecuting Identity Theft
Did you know that one in five Americans has experienced some form of identity theft at least once in their lifetime? If that didn't surprise you, maybe this will: identity theft comfortably ranks in the top three for the most common fraud issues, according to the Consumer Sentinel Network.
Who's to blame for the upsurge in identity theft cases? Well, no one in particular. The truth is that you cannot completely inoculate yourself from identity theft. However, that doesn't necessarily mean that you should sit still and watch as your personal identity flies out the window. We've got a reprieve for you—say hello to identity theft prosecution.
Want to learn more about prosecuting identity theft and how DoNotPay can help in the whole process? Read on.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is exactly what it sounds like: someone uses a victim's personal information to pose as the victim in order to obtain goods, services, or anything else of value. As you'd imagine, identity thieves are masters of their craft, which means they only steal sensitive information—the kind that'd make you stare into the ceiling in the dead of night.
Identity theft can occur when:
- Someone makes away with your purse or wallet to obtain your personal information and credit cards.
- Someone steals your driver's license only to hand it over to the police when they're pulled over, or worse, when they're arrested.
- Someone sees you drop your credit card, but instead of handing it over back to you, they use it to buy something.
- Someone poses as the IRS and sends you an email that directs you to submit your personal information for auditing.
- Someone gains access to your email account and goes ahead to scour for personal identifying information.
This is in no way a conclusive list. Identity theft occurs in many shapes and forms, but ultimately, the culprit makes away with one or a combination of these four things:
Naturally, after having your identity stolen, the first instinct would be to file a police report. However, if you feel your local police department will take ages to resolve your case, you might be better off prosecuting identity theft.
How Can You Tell if Your Identity Has Been Stolen?
There are several signs that may indicate that your identity has been stolen. The first is being turned down for credit based on inaccurate information in your credit report. You may also notice that you don't receive bills and other financial statements of a thief having changed the address on your accounts.
Other telltale indications of identity theft include missing checks from a checkbook or withdrawals from your account that you do not recognize. Ultimately, you're likely to be contacted by a debt collection agency regarding these "debts."
Don't fret, though. You still have a chance to bring the culprit to justice through prosecution.
How to Prosecute Identity Theft
Prosecuting may sound like a buzzword only reserved for the experts of the law, but it's certainly one you could use when your hard-earned identity is on the line. You should know that your options for prosecuting identity theft are far from limited.
Prosecuting via a Consumer Protection Attorney
If you suspect identity theft has tampered with your credit report, your best bet might be to contact a consumer protection attorney. Credit is a sensitive issue, and the last thing you want is to have debt collectors knocking on your door asking to be paid back for a debt you never took.
Most, if not all, consumer protection attorneys have extensive experience in investigating and prosecuting identity theft. They'll protect your rights in two key ways:
- Disputing inaccurate information resulting from identity theft
- Suing the parties responsible for compensation
However, there's a big caveat here: The attorney can only take up your case if the identity thief is well known. If the figure behind the malicious act is still at large and anonymous, you might have to explore other options.
Prosecuting via Federal Prosecutors
Identity theft was officially passed as a crime in 1998 under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, which means federal prosecutors have every legal right to take up such cases. However, for your case to be accepted and ultimately litigated, you must go through the U.S. Department of Justice.
The secret is to arm yourself with as much information as possible—including the how, whom, and when your identity was stolen. Only if the federal prosecutor deems your case legitimate and worth pursuing will you get the reprieve you're looking for.
You can reach the Department of Justice through the following toll-free lines:
|Department Comment Line||202-353-1555|
|Department of Justice Main Switchboard||202-514-2000|
Prosecuting Through an Identity Theft Attorney
While consumer protection attorneys mainly prosecute credit-related cases, identity theft attorneys prosecute a slew of other cases, including:
- Identity theft
- Credit report errors
- Class actions
- Background report errors
It's worth noting, though, that identity theft attorneys are just effective as their consumer protection counterparts. More than anything else, your choice of an attorney affects the final outcome of your theft identity case.
Prosecute Identity Theft Easily With the Help of DoNotPay
Prosecuting identity theft through DoNotPay is easy and fuss-free. You don't have to contact the Department of Justice and trouble yourself with all the back and forth in the communication with them. You also don't have to wait days on end for a response from identity theft and consumer protection attorneys.
The only thing you need in order to sue or prosecute identity theft is a DoNotPay account, which you can create using any web browser. Once you're logged in, follow these simple steps:
- Search "identity theft" on DoNotPay and select the type of incident you would like to report.
- Tell us more about the incident that occurred, including the location, date, time, financial loss, and any suspect information you may have.
- We'll identify whether you should file an FTC report, contact the IRS, freeze your credit report, contact state agencies, or file a police report. Once we guide you through the best options, we'll automatically submit the reports on your behalf!
That's all there is to prosecute identity theft with the help of DoNotPay. We will make sure your issue gets sent to the right place. We'll even upload confirmation documents to your task for you to view, and if the contacts need more information, they will reach out to you personally via email or mail.
DoNotPay values your personal identity, and we do everything in our power to stop credit card fraud and identity theft once and for all.
Don't Stop There With DoNotPay
Besides combating identity theft, DoNotPay fights many other issues people experience when dealing with various companies. Access DoNotPay from your web browser to learn how far these services span.
Here's a list of some of the ways in which we can help you:
- Fighting robocalls
- Combating Experian identity theft
- Helping you deal with stalking and embarrassment
- Fighting spam mail
- Disputing parking tickets
- Fighting Equifax identity theft
- Requesting compensation for canceled or delayed flights
- Getting you a DMV appointment fast
- Working out cases of stimulus check theft
- Helping you report someone who's filed for employment in your name