Personal Injury Through Identity Theft
It’s movie night, but you need to stop by the ATM to pick up some cash for the popcorn and sodas. Unbeknownst to you, a predator is nearby, covertly watching as you type in you codes and pick up the cash. The rest of the evening is perfect—the movie and snacks were just what you’d been in the mood for.
What you weren’t in the mood for, though, is the surprise that awaited you in the morning when you checked your account balance, only to find hundreds of dollars missing from your account. You’ve been the victim of identify theft, and untangling the web of problems will cost more than money. Your time and stress levels are suddenly at a premium. Now would be a good time to contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
A Significant Problem in the US
Identity theft strikes over 18 million people in the United States. Most often, the problem involves unauthorized credit card usage. Nearly half of all victims experience the hacking of financial accounts, and the remainder must deal with the misuse of phones, insurance, or online accounts.
How Does it Occur?
There are several ways nefarious characters get their hands on your personal information. Three methods top the list:
- Simple observation: Thieves watch or listen as you punch in numbers to ATM’s of phones;
- Garbage diving: Crooks look through discarded mail, hoping to find pre-approved credit cards in the mail. When they find cards that haven’t been destroyed, they activate the cards, unbeknownst to the person named on the card;
- Computer hacking: When you respond to unsolicited emails and provide personal information with the hopes of some benefit, criminals may be on the other end of the line, eager to steal your data and use it for their own purposes.
What Should You Do if it Happens to You?
Quick action is called for in this situation. For starters, you need to alert any companies involved with the fraud. Furthermore, you should get your credit reports, place a fraud alert on accounts, and report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Filing a report with local police wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.
What You Can Expect
The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that, while many cases of identity theft and/or fraud are resolved within a month or less, roughly one-third of cases take over six months or more. Obviously, those cases are frequently accompanied with serious emotional distress.
Prevention is Key
Experts suggest several preventative actions to secure your identity:
- Shred documents containing any personal information;
- Closely guard account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other personal information, particularly when in public settings;
- Never provide personal information to an unsolicited source.
If, despite your best efforts, you become the victim of identity theft or fraud, the aggressive and experienced team at the Law Offices of Robert W. Elton in Daytona and Ormond Beach can help with the aftermath. Contact our personal injury team today for a free, confidential consultation.