Identity Theft Lawyers in San Diego Protecting the Rights of Victims Affected by Identity Theft
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is reported to have received more than 5.88 million identity fraud reports in 2021, a 19% increase from previous years. Identity theft is quickly becoming one of the most common crimes in the country, affecting even children. But what is identity theft, and what can you do about it? Learn how you can protect your rights if you are a victim of identity theft and what an attorney can do to help.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the fraudulent acquisition of someone’s personal identifying information and using that information to commit further acts of fraud. In other words, identity theft happens when an individual steals or misappropriates another person’s sensitive information, such as credit card numbers, banking information, or social security number, usually to make a financial gain, commit fraud, or engage in other types of criminal activity.
In California, the most common types of information stolen from identity theft victims include their legal names, social security numbers, usernames, and passwords for online websites, including social media accounts and banking information (such as credit or debit card numbers and PINs). Identity theft is a criminal offense in California, and those found guilty could face serious consequences such as fines and jail time.
How Does Identity Theft Affect Victims?
Identity theft scams affect all ages and all kinds of people. Older individuals may be targeted by phone or email scams, while younger individuals may be targeted through social media, where hackers can trick them into sharing sensitive personal data.
Identity theft can severely affect a victim’s finances and reputation. A scammer may obtain your credit card or banking information and use it to make purchases or drain your bank account. You could also be affected by someone who creates social media profiles in your name and spams your contacts while pretending to be you.
In more serious cases, you may even find that you cannot file a tax return because someone else stole your information and filed it first. They may even give your name and information to a police officer, which could mean you might receive citations, fines, and even have a criminal record for something you did not do. And nowadays, because children are gaining access to social media at early ages, criminals may also attempt to obtain their information, such as their social security numbers, to open fraudulent credit lines in their names, potentially remaining undetected for many years as children do not routinely monitor their credit.
Can You Sue for Identity Theft and Recover Compensation?
Identity theft criminals are not always caught, and even when they are identified and prosecuted, victims rarely receive any compensation for their losses and damage to their credit or reputation. California laws allow identity theft victims to initiate a civil lawsuit against the responsible parties, whether that means suing the criminals themselves, the company that allowed your sensitive information to be stolen, or both.
The litigation process for identity theft can be rather complex. As is the case in any civil action, it is up to the victim (the plaintiff) to present sufficient evidence to support their claim and document the extent of their damages. A successful identity theft civil case may result in the plaintiff receiving compensation for a variety of damages, such as financial losses, reimbursement for damage to the plaintiff’s credit score and reputation, and even emotional damages.
What Can an Identity Theft Lawyer Do to Help?
If you have been a victim of identity theft, you should not have to deal with the consequences of someone else’s fraudulent or criminal activities. Reach out to the attorneys at Khosroabadi & Hill as soon as possible, so we can help you understand your options to prevent further damage to your identity and finances and work with you to devise a strategy to hold the responsible parties liable for what happened. Contact our San Diego office at 858-240-2093 to learn more.