experience & dedication...

Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

Back to Articles of Interest

The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: What to do if you are a victim of identity theft

April 7, 2010

This is the second in a two-part series about identity theft. In my last article, I wrote about ways to prevent identity theft. In this article I will discuss steps to take if you are a victim of identity theft. Warning signs of identity theft can involve getting turned down for credit even though you have always paid bills on time. It may involve getting called by a debt collector or credit card company regarding charges that you never made or an account that you never opened. Identity theft may involve any suspicious activity with your credit or your accounts. If you suspect or confirm that you are a victim of identity theft, you must act immediately. The following steps are some of the most important steps to take to restore your credit and your good name.
(1) Notify credit bureaus. They are: Equifax: P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374- 0241, Experian: PO Box 9532 Allen TX, 75013, and TransUnion: P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790. The credit bureaus should notify you of your rights as a victim. You should ask for a free copy of your credit report (which you are entitled to if you are a victim of identity theft) and look at them carefully when they arrive to see if there is any suspicious activity that you do not know about. If there is, report it immediately.
(2) Report the crime. Start by contacting local law enforcement. Provide as much documented evidence as possible. Also, report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission at (877)438-4338. The FTC does not investigate these matters but does share information with investigators nationwide in the fight against identity theft.

(3) Contact any creditors who have opened accounts for the criminal impostor. Telephone them to let them know that you are a victim of identity theft, and follow up with a letter to the person or the division that you talk to. If asked to provide a fraud affidavit, do so. Ask creditors to provide you and law enforcement with copies of any fraudulent applications or other documents submitted by the impostor.
(4) If debt collectors call you to pay for the fraudulent debt, tell them that you are victim of identity fraud. Ask for any information relevant to the claimed debt, including account numbers, the credit issuer and any other pertinent information. If creditors, credit bureaus or debt collectors do not cooperate in removing fraudulent entries from your record, you may need to seek an attorney to help you do so.
(5) If the fraud involves the U.S. mail, notify the local postal master to file a complaint.
(6) If the fraud involves social security number misuse, contact the Social Security Administration to report Social Security benefit fraud, employment fraud, or welfare fraud at (800)269-0271.
(7) Keep detailed records of all telephone conversations and documents that you receive while trying to rectify the matter.
In addition to these recommendations there are many excellent online resources about what to do if you are a victim of identity theft such as http://www.justice.gov/criminal/fraud/websites/idtheft.html; http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/; and http://www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17a.htm.
There is no silver lining to identity theft. If you become an unfortunate victim, you must act quickly and methodically. Above all do not ignore the problem out of frustration. There are resources to help you, but you are the best person to rectify your credit and your good name.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

Back to Articles of Interest

By: Edward D. Alkalay