Nevadans face the highest risk of identity theft in the United States, according to a recent study by Securelife.com. The study looked at FBI statistics and data, such as the average loss per consumer and other general risk factors for each state. The average loss per identity theft victim in Nevada is $6,000, and the number of victims affected is 14 out of 100,000. In 2017, Nevadans lost $2.58 million to identity theft, which is more than double the next state on the list.
This survey demonstrates that identity theft and fraud in Nevada, and Las Vegas especially, must be addressed starting with better credit education. Las Vegas consumers should pull their credit reports at least annually to ensure the information is accurate and up-to-date. If you notice an error or fraudulent transaction, the first step is to initiate a "fraud alert" to prevent future damage. Next, Nevada consumers should visit Identitytheft.gov to fill out an FTC Identity Theft Victim’s Report and submit this report to the bureaus along with information about each fraudulent entry.
The national credit bureaus and data furnishers have 4 days to block the fraudulent information, and 30 days to investigate and remove it from your reports. If they fail, you have a legal claim against them under federal law that includes your attorney’s fees and costs as a measure of your damages. These companies must also cover your out-of-pocket damages, including loss of credit limits, loan denials, and financial losses. If you’re an identity theft victim, contact a Las Vegas identity theft lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.
A recent class action lawsuit filed in Los Angeles alleges that Equifax is misreporting accounts with past due balances when the accounts are paid and closed. This practice makes the accounts appear delinquent, which may lead to loan denials and increased interest rates. The lawsuit accuses Equifax of violating the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) by failing to follow reasonable steps to ensure that the credit reports it generates for consumers are accurate.
This recent case demonstrates the ongoing need for Las Vegas consumers to review their credit reports regularly, especially after paying off a delinquent loan or credit card, to make sure the balance and past due information are correct. If the credit bureaus are reporting your account information incorrectly, you have the right to dispute this information online or in writing. The bureaus have 30 days to investigate your disputes and provide you with an updated credit report. If they fail to correct the inaccurate information, you have the right to hire an identity theft lawyer for no out-of-pocket expense because the FCRA includes those costs as a measure of your damages.
According to NBC News, more than 1 million children in the U.S. were victims of identity theft last year, including those living here in Las Vegas and Henderson. Two-thirds of the child victims are under the age of eight. This recent spike in child identity theft has led to $2.67 billion in losses to consumers.
These figures don’t convey the whole story because many parents never check whether their children have credit profiles (most children under 18 should not have a credit report unless they have credit cards or accounts with their parents). Fraudsters and identity thieves seek out children’s Social Security numbers and private information because they are often unused and easier to take advantage of to open new accounts.
To prevent child identity theft, parents should visit www.annualcreditreport.com to see whether their children have credit reports. If so, parents should review the credit reports for any fraudulent or inaccurate information. If the reports contain fraudulent information, the parents should obtain a police report and write the major credit bureaus enclosing the police report and information about the fraud.
You have the right to sue the credit card companies and credit bureaus for false reporting if they fail to remove the fraudulent information within 30 days of your written notice. You can also hire an identity theft lawyer for no out-of-pocket cost because these companies are required to pay your fees and costs if you have a case.