Shell Insurance Agency serving Deer Park, TX wants you to understand that identity theft is a crime. When another individual uses your name, likeness, credit card number, driver’s license number, or Social Security Number, that’s identity theft. The term identity theft or ID theft means that a person other than yourself used your identity to represent themselves.
Identity theft is illegal.
Those criminals should listen to the old adage, “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”
This blog explains how to handle documenting ID theft and pressing charges to have the perp arrested and tried. You can have an individual prosecuted in criminal and civil court for identity theft.
By filing criminal charges, you can have the person arrested for the crime. The matter goes to court unless they cut a deal. If prosecuted, tried, and convicted, they will go to prison. The prison terms for this crime vary by state.
You can also sue the individual in civil court to recover the money they defrauded other companies of and to recover damages for any reputation harm they did.
Filling Criminal Charges
You first need to report what happened to the police. Ask to file a report for identity theft. Also, once filed, obtain a copy of the police report. At the time that you file your police report, ask the police department to submit your name and information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s NCIC Identity Theft File. This helps law enforcement flag stolen identities, so they can more easily spot imposters.
What to Bring
You need to take proof with you. If you reported charges to your credit card companies or to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you need to print a copy of that report. Take your government-issued photo ID with you, typically your driver’s license. Also, bring with you proof of your physical address, such as your utility bill, rental agreement, or mortgage papers. You should take with you any proof of the identity theft, such as screenshots of fake accounts they created using your name and photos, bills for purchases they made, photos of them using your credit card information taken from retail store security cameras, Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notices, etc.
The police typically do not have time to investigate these matters themselves, so if the identity theft occurred online and did not involve accessing your finances, you need other proof of who did it. You will need to hire a private investigator or a computer firm that specializes in criminal documentation of digital access. They will need to trace the creation of and access to the account(s) to document their Internet Protocol (IP) address which reveals their physical address. Police use the physical address to arrest the individuals. You cannot hire a computer repair shop or Best Buy to do this type of work. The companies specializing in this type of digital investigation locate themselves in major cities, including Dallas, New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, etc. You may not find a local company that specializes in it, but since most of these companies conduct their investigations online, this won’t matter.
Filing in Civil Court
You will need to hire a personal injury attorney to file civil charges. Rather than the type of personal injury attorney that deals with car accidents or construction accidents, you need one that specializes in criminal and civil fraud. Many lawyers now specialize in identity theft. Take with you the same paperwork as when you filed the criminal charges, plus the police report. The civil process takes time, and you may not recover much money out of it, but you will be able to document the reputation damage, which can help you recover your good name.
You can help yourself by carrying identity theft insurance from Shell Insurance Agency serving Deer Park, TX. This pays for the fraudulent charges made by those who stole your identity.