Identity theft is an ever-growing issue in both Oregon and Washington, causing problmes with debt collectors and on credit reports. The criminals stealing your identity often open credit cards in your name and rack up massive charges, torching your credit score and barring your from making much needed future purchases . Bad credit scores can effect your ability to obtain insurance at a reasonable rate, oInsurance companies use lower credit scores to justify higher rates. You may even be denied employment or fired from your job because of false information in your credit history. And you could suffer serious harassment by debt collectors. Even after you discover the theft, corporate predators.
Signs of identity theft include the following
1. Mail or pre-approved credit offers with someone else’s name are arriving at your home or work
2. Unknown accounts are appearing on your credit report.
3. Companies that you have no relationship with have been looking at your credit report.
4. You are getting collection letters for accounts you do not have.
5. Your credit report includes a name or address for your that you have never used.
6. You are getting account information in the mail relating to accounts you didn’t open.
However, any of the above could have caused by error, so you Therefore, you won’t know if it identity theft is present until you get all the documents relating to the information that is wreaking havoc on your credit report.
The fact is that creditors routinely make errors regarding customer identity. Moreover, credit bureaus often get it wrong as well. Bureaus confuse consumers with each other, mix up credit information, and attribute credit history to consumers unrelated to an account.
Because your almost never really have definitive proof of identity theft, you should never sign an identity theft or fraud affidavit until you have actually seen the forged credit application. More importantly, you should never sign off on one of these affidavits without benefit of counsel.
If you are a victim of identity theft, you are entitled to several benefits under the revised Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FDCPA entitles you not only to copies of your credit report, but allows you to place a fraud block on your file. By placing a fraud block, you will be letting all potential creditors know that your identity has been stolen and warning them not to extend credit without absolute proof that they are actually dealing with you.
Sadly the damage done by identity theft can be so pervasive and time consuming that under certain circumstances(e.g. you are saddled with debt beyond the debt created by the identity theft) it might make more sense to simply seek relief under the bankruptcy code. More and more, we are filing Bankruptcy petitions in Washington and Oregon, not only to deal with real debts, but those created by identity theft.
If you have been a victim of identity theft and you want to get out of debt, contact our offices and set up an appointment at one of our Washington Bankruptcy and Consumer law in either Vancouver or Seattle, Washington or Portland or Salem, Oregon. We would be more than happy to help.