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.
Debt collection fraud is the most common scam affecting Las Vegas consumers. The scammers contact the unsuspecting person acting as legitimate debt collectors and threaten lawsuits and/or negative credit reporting. Other common debt collection scams include someone posing as an IRS or government agent demanding money or personal information to be used to steal the consumer’s identity.
If you receive collection calls, you should demand that the debt collector identify themselves and provide contact information for the collection company for which they are employed. Additionally, you should tell the collector you will not discuss the account without written validation in the mail listing the original creditor and the amount of the debt.
If you are a victim of illegal debt collection scams or harassing collections, you should contact a Las Vegas debt collection lawyer to protect your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. There is no out-of-pocket expense for the consumer because the collectors who violate the statute are required to pay your attorney’s fees and costs along with possible statutory damages if you prevail.
Las Vegas residents are being targeted by identity thieves and scammers acting as Clark County officials. The scammers advise consumers that they have an arrest warrant for failure to appear for a jury summons. The crooks then seek to have the victim pay for the “fine” by providing their credit card information or loading a pre-paid credit card.
It is important for Las Vegas residents to know the Clark County court system will never call a resident to solicit money or personal information. Beware of emails or calls that appear to be jury summonses and ask for personal banking information or Social Security numbers.
If you are a victim of identity theft or illegal scams like this one, you should report the crime to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the Nevada Attorney General’s office. You should also review your credit reports with a Las Vegas identity theft lawyer to ensure there are no fraudulent loans or other false information on your credit profiles.
A Las Vegas woman fell victim to a relatively new scam used by sophisticated identity thieves. The scam, known as “SIM swapping,” occurs where thieves obtain your personal information then call your cell phone provider claiming to be you. The crook then requests a new SIM card from your provider and uses it to access your personal cell phone information.