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Identity Theft is Rapidly Increasing

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A news story from today’s New York Times highlighted just how much identity theft is happening in today’s world.  Obviously, this issue has received a lot of publicity recently due to the breach of data associated with Target shoppers.  What’s worse is that many in the financial industries seem to suggest the problem is only going to get worse.

Just since 2005, there were over 4000 breaches of personal information databases, affecting more than 660 million records.  Yes, you read that right – over 660 million records.  According to a study released just 2 days ago, there were more than 13 million identity fraud victims during the 2013.  This includes everything from unauthorized charges on your credit card, to outright takeovers of your entire account.  In fact, more than 30% of the people whose data was breached became actual victims of identify fraud.  Much of this increase is due to criminals and hackers becoming better at stealing your credit card and debit card numbers and selling them quickly.  In many cases, these unauthorized charges may not be detected for weeks, until you receive your credit card statement or your bank account statement.  Some of these identity theft cases can be far-ranging, impacting your credit report, your credit score, and even your job!

If this has happened to you, there are certain rights that you have under applicable laws, including both federal laws and Florida laws.  For example, you may not be responsible for unauthorized charges on your credit card, depending on the circumstances and your credit card agreement.

The best way to protect your rights is to be vigilant: don’t fall victim to email scams, don’t reveal your personal information to people you don’t know, and carefully monitor your accounts and credit reports.  If a company won’t do the right thing to help you if you are a victim of identity theft or fraudulent charges, contact us for a free consultation about your rights.