A Nevada resident pleaded guilty last week to using stolen identities to create more than 8,000 fraudulent online accounts and defraud victims of approximately $3.5 million. The defendant, Kenneth Gibson, pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, mail fraud, wire fraud, and filing a false tax return.
Federal prosecutors say Mr. Gibson admitted to using stolen identities to open unauthorized prepaid cards, along with credit cards and bank accounts. He faces a maximum of more than 40 years in prison.
This case highlights the ongoing threat faced by Las Vegas consumers regarding identity theft and its implications. To reduce the risk of identity theft, make sure to review your credit reports and bank statements regularly. If the banks and bureaus fail to fix errors or fraud in your reports, you should hire an identity theft lawyer to file a claim. These claims can be brought at no out-of-pocket cost to you because the Fair Credit Reporting Act permits your attorney's fees and costs to be covered by the defendants.
According to a new report, Nevada consumers fall victim to identity theft more often than most of the rest of the nation. In Nevada, the rate of identity theft complaints is 128 per 100,000 people, which is the fifth highest rate in the United States. The median loss for Nevada residents related to identity theft is $500 (2nd highest). The report also stated that the most common form of identity theft in Nevada is credit card fraud.
These figures demonstrate that Las Vegas residents must remain vigilant about checking their credit reports often to make sure they are not a victim of identity theft. If you believe you are a victim, there are federal laws that protect you and allow you to bring a claim at no cost to you.
According to new research released by Javelin Strategy and Research, more than 16 million people in the US were identity theft victims in 2017. Identity theft increased in 2017 over the previous year by approximately 1.3 million consumers. This report comes on the heels of news that over 150 million consumers, include those here in Las Vegas and Henderson, were victims of the Equifax Data Breach in late 2017.
This recent news makes it more important than ever for Las Vegas consumers to check their credit reports often to make sure they are not victims. If you notice any information on your credit report that is inaccurate, you have the right to dispute the incorrect credit information with the credit bureaus. If the credit bureaus and lenders fail to update this inaccurate information, you may bring claims against them at no cost to you under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.
On March 8, 2018, the Ninth Circuit overturned a Las Vegas federal court ruling and found that the threat of future harm related to identity theft was sufficient to allow the plaintiffs to have standing to sue. In this case, the plaintiffs were victims of identity theft after a 2012 data breach of the online retailer Zappos.com in which hackers stole names, account numbers, passwords, email addresses, and payment information. Some plaintiffs alleged that their information was used in actual identity theft or fraud after the breach while others did not experience those damages.
The court found that the allegations of increased risk of future identity theft posed a “credible threat of real and immediate harm.” Specifically, the court found that “the information taken in the data breach still gave hackers the means to commit fraud or identity theft.”
This case will assist Las Vegas and Henderson consumers by permitting their data breach related claims to move forward in the courts even if those consumers have not yet experienced identity theft or fraud as a result of the theft of their personal information.