Identity theft is such an insidious crime that it is often impossible to catch and prosecute the perpetrator. So where does this leave victims who are hoping for some kind of justice? While you’ll probably never see the criminal prosecuted, there are laws in place in California that help you control the damage he caused and recover from the financial fallout. Enacted in 2017, the California Identity Theft Resolution Act helps victims resolve credit identity theft problems more quickly.
What the Law Requires of Debt Collectors
While not the only problem caused by identity theft, one of the common ways identity thieves steal from you is to take out lines of credit or open credit cards in your name. The thieves obviously don’t pay these debts so they become your debts. Part of the process of recovering from identity theft is informing creditors of the theft and getting the debts taken out of your name. Under California law, debt collectors must do the following:
- Start a review of the disputed debt within 10 business days of receiving your statement and a police report
- Notify the credit reporting agencies that certain accounts are under dispute
- Inform you of their determination within 10 days of concluding their review
- If they determine that the debt was caused by identity theft, they must notify the original creditor of its intention to stop attempting collection within 10 days
- Order the credit reporting agencies to remove the adverse information from your credit reports within 10 days
The time limits imposed by the act are essential for allowing you to get on with your life more quickly after your identity has been stolen.
What You Can Do if a Debt Collection Agency Does Not Cooperate
If a debt collector fails to take these actions within the required time period and continues to try to collect from you, you may be able to take legal action against them. When you work with a California consumer attorney, you can expect one or more of the following remedies:
- A statement from the creditor declaring that you are under no obligation to them for the fraudulent claim
- An order prohibiting the creditor from further attempts to collect on the claim
- Attorney fees, other costs, and any appropriate damages as determined by the court
If you are struggling with an identity theft nightmare, fill out our contact form and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your options.