With the growth in technology and the internet, our personal information is always at risk. Unfortunately, if you’re not monitoring your accounts and credit file on a routine basis, you may not realize that you’ve become a victim of identity theft until the damage is done.
If you monitor your bank and credit card accounts and find unauthorized purchases or activity, you can mitigate much of the financial damage via your bank or credit card provider’s fraud protection department. In many cases, refunds or credits will be issued for initial purchases made by identity thieves, your account will be closed, and you’ll be issued a new card and/or account.
However, in many cases dealing with identity theft can end up costing you thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of your time trying to resolve the situation. What is the long term impact of identity theft on your credit, finances, and your reputation?
What to look for
Many identity theft victims don’t catch on to the fact that their identity has been stolen until they start receiving calls and correspondence from collection agencies or court summons for debts that they did not personally incur.
- Identity theft that goes unresolved can have a devastating effect on your credit rating; bad credit can have a negative impact on just about every aspect of your life, including getting a mortgage, buying a car, applying for a student loan, or renting an apartment.
- Credit reports are one of the ways employers assess potential hires. Applicants with poor credit often have problems getting a job. Being victimized by an identity thief can not only wreck your credit rating, but it can cause you to miss out on potential job opportunities.
- Identity theft can result in tax problems when someone uses your personal information, including your Social Security number, to file a fraudulent state or federal tax return in your name and collects the refund.
- Many identity thieves use the personal data of the people that they victimize to open bank accounts or to access current accounts and then withdraw all of the money. The result is that the victim will have very limited banking options in the future.
Being proactive is the best way to protect you and your family from the long term negative impacts of identity theft.
Who to hold responsible
Sadly, all forms of identity theft are on the rise. Javelin Research reported that as many as 15 million Americans had their identities stolen in 2021 alone.
In order to avoid the long term impact of identity theft, it’s essential that you consult with an identity theft attorney who can help determine all the ways in which your personal information has been compromised, from credit issues to falsified tax returns and bank accounts, and then take all of the necessary steps to resolve the situation.
Contact the Law Offices of Robert F. Brennan, APC, Los Angeles identity theft defense attorney.