Should You Hire A Lawyer For Identity Theft?

Last Updated: Jan 15, 2023

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Identity theft can cause substantial financial losses, emotional trauma, and damage the reputation of the victim.

If your identity has been stolen and you have suffered damages due to the theft, you have different options to help resolve the issue and claim for financial losses and some types of damages. Each option has its own pros and cons.  

If you want to sue the perpetrator of the theft or even a third-party entity from which your information was stolen, getting help from an identity theft lawyer should be one of your top considerations.

Should You Hire A Lawyer For Identity Theft?

Cases of identity theft can be challenging to prove because, often, law enforcement cannot track down the thief.

It is also difficult to prove a case of identity theft beyond a reasonable doubt because of a lack of sufficient physical evidence like contracts, account statements, and so forth.

If your information was stolen through a third party, they might not be able to help with essential evidence like surveillance or receipts. They might not have had physical contact with the identity thief at all.

Whether law enforcement can or can’t track down the thief: get an attorney to help you. Experienced identity theft attorneys could even help law enforcement agencies’ investigations.

An attorney can determine if a third party can be held liable for your suffering. For example, if your identity was stolen because a bank or other company was negligent or failed to comply with the laws dictating how they must store and protect your information.

If your case is successful, you could recover legal fees and be awarded compensation for financial losses. You may also claim damages for pain and suffering (like anxiety or the destruction of your reputation).

Unless you intend on representing yourself, consulting a lawyer could help you win these often-complicated cases and recover the losses you suffered.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring An Identity Theft Attorney?

Fees

Ask if the fees are based on contingency (usually a percentage of the final award only if you win a part of or the whole case), a flat fee, or an hourly fee. What rates will you be charged, and is a retainer (a set upfront payment) is required? Deciding ahead if you can afford a specific lawyer is important to ensure the case flows uninterrupted.

Scope

You need to know to what degree the lawyer will represent you. Establish whether the lawyer will be limited to communicating with the relevant entities or whether your lawyer will also file a complaint on your behalf and represent you in court.

Experience

Asking about their experience can help you gauge if the lawyer you interview is competent to handle your case.  Attorneys specialize in different fields of law, so it is essential to know if your lawyer has handled identity theft cases before.

Agreement

Always review the written representation agreement before signing it to ensure that it is set out as you agreed with your lawyer. Insist on a copy for your records.

References

Can help verify an attorney’s competence and give insight into how they will treat and represent you.

Other questions you can pose to your lawyer to determine the different aspects of their fees, experience, success rates, and overall representation or service include:

  • How many cases of identity theft have you handled?  
  • What is your success rate?
  • What is your specialty?
  • How many years have you focused on identity theft restoration?
  • Can you help me prevent future occurrences?

What Does An Identity Theft Lawyer Do?

Deciding whether to enlist the services of an identity theft attorney could be demanding as you weigh the pros and cons of their services.

Before you hire an attorney, check their services (scope) against the following list of what an identity theft attorney should be able to do:

  • Analyze the facts and evidence of your case to establish
  • The type of identity theft and charges
  • Which State and Federal laws apply
  • Which court to approach
  • Whether your case has a reasonable prospect of success
  • Whether you can sue a third party
  • The potential costs and damages you could claim
  • Help you to file an official police report with the relevant law enforcement agencies.
  • Submit reports to the FTC and other financial institutions on your behalf.
  • Communicate with credit bureaus, your bank, creditors, debt collectors, and so on to obtain statements and put holds on your accounts.
  • Remove false information on your credit report.
  • Facilitate the replacement of government-issued IDs.
  • Work with law enforcement to identify and prosecute the thief and any third party.
  • Protect your rights when dealing with issues that may be caused by the identity
  • Offer legal advice throughout the process.
  • Suggest ways to prevent future occurrences of identity theft.

Identity theft attorneys should be able to develop the best strategies to support and protect you and to win compensation for financial and other damages.

Who Needs An Identity Theft Lawyer?

When someone realizes their identity is stolen, they might not know who to approach for support.  There are complex legal and financial considerations and processes.

Identity theft lawyers provide invaluable services and information to have the best chance of getting justice.

One might need a lawyer for identity theft if:

  • A wallet or purse containing personal information is stolen
  • Documents containing personal information were stolen by dumpster divers
  • Mailed accounts are stolen or redirected to another address.
  • Information is given under false pretenses to a person/company over the phone/email
  • Job or loan applications are rejected, citing information known to be false.
  • Accusations of a crime one did not commit
  • False information on medical records
  • Strange charges on existing credit cards and accounts
  • New accounts are opened without authorization

These are some examples of how identity theft can occur. As incidents continue to increase, it is important to be cautious with your private information to prevent identity theft.

Bottom Line

As identity theft becomes increasingly common and more sophisticated, discovering the identity of the thief has become more challenging. Victims are often left feeling abandoned, without legal recourse to get justice, and without the support to recoup losses and clear their name.

If you have or suspect you have been a victim of identity theft, consider consulting an identity theft attorney.

Experienced attorneys should be able to handle your case from beginning to end and should provide protection and support throughout ought the legal process.

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