The recent Equifax data breach has a lot of Ohio consumers on edge about the threat of identity theft. Already a huge problem in the U.S., identity theft seems even more likely after hackers stole data belonging to about 143 million consumers. This is roughly half of the population, so there’s a good chance that if you’re an Ohio resident with a credit report, your personal information is now vulnerable. Knowing this, many consumers are wondering about exactly what can happen after identity theft occurs. Obviously, fraudsters can drain your bank account and destroy your credit reports and credit score. However, identity theft victims often face challenges that go well beyond their finances and credit health.
How Identity Theft Affects Bank Accounts and Credit Cards in Ohio
In an article written before the Equifax data breach, TransUnion estimated that approximately 19 people become victims of identity theft every minute. Sadly, this number will likely rise in the near future. Typically, Ohio consumers think of threats to their bank accounts and credit scores when the topic of identity theft comes up. This is for good reason because these are the most immediate concerns.
When identity thieves drain Ohio bank accounts, the instant loss of available funds is a big nuisance for identity theft victims. Yet, most major banks will restore these funds if the theft is reported quickly enough. In cases of fraudulent debit card purchases, federal law dictates that consumers are not liable as long as they report the fraud within 60 days.
Federal law also regulates consumer liability with stolen credit cards and credit card numbers. If a fraudster steals your credit card and uses it, you are only responsible for up to $50. Also, most credit companies don’t make identity theft victims pay even that much. On the other hand, if thieves take just your credit card number, you are not liable for any unauthorized transactions.
Of course, when it comes to controlling damage bank account and credit card damage after identity theft, quick action is the key. By spotting and reporting suspicious activity as soon as possible, Ohio consumers lose less money and fewer credit score points.
How Identity Theft Damages Ohio Credit Scores
Identity theft victims in Ohio run into real trouble when fraudsters use their Social Security numbers to open new credit card accounts. Typically, thieves run up charges on these accounts and leave them unpaid. Eventually, these delinquent accounts show up on the victim’s credit reports, and debt collectors start calling. If left undisputed, these fraudulent accounts can damage credit reports and credit scores for a long time. This is why credit repair is an important part of the identity theft recovery process.
Other Ways in Which Identity Theft Harms Ohio Consumers
Hackers who steal consumer data may sell Social Security numbers and other sensitive information to criminals on the run. These criminals then use stolen identities to evade authorities, which may lead to false arrest for identity theft victims.
Another common scenario involves individuals who use stolen data to seek medical treatment under unlawfully assumed identities. Then, sadly, victimized Ohio consumers frequently face unpaid medical bills in debt collections. Their medical records are also damaged by false information which can take months or even years to clear up.
Dealing with the Credit Repair Part of the Identity Theft Recovery Process
Ohio consumers with credit reports damaged by identity theft should first file a police report. Obtaining a copy of this police report is necessary to complete the credit repair process. Next, these consumers should call the Law Offices of Gary D. Nitzkin, P.C. When victims of identity theft call our firm, an experienced credit repair attorney will clean up your credit reports quickly and for free.
Often, creditors and the credit reporting bureaus slow down credit recovery after identity theft by resisting consumer efforts. However, our team of credit pros knows how to deal with these organizations, and we’ll do whatever it takes to get you clean credit reports. So, if mailing credit dispute letters doesn’t work, we file lawsuits for our clients, but we never charge our clients anything for our services.
The Free and Legal way to Get Better Credit
Don’t let errors on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At the Law Offices of Gary D. Nitzkin, P.C., we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? The law allows us to collect our fees and costs from the defendants in any successful action. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (480) 771-6001 or sending him a message through our contact page.