When you’re a victim of identity theft, it can be a surreal experience. You didn’t buy that, you didn’t borrow that, you didn’t rent that, and you were never in Albuquerque in the first place!
It can also be extremely costly and damaging to your financial future. Denied mortgages or car loans, exploitative interest rates, maybe even a lost job opportunity because a potential employer got scared off by your bad credit score. And trying to get the credit reporting bureaus like Experian, Transunion, and Equifax to correct the record so that you can get your life back on track is often extremely difficult.
In the words of one victim of identity theft, “When you are a victim of identity theft, you are put in the position of having to prove who you are to a greater extent than the criminal had to to get goods and services. You’re treated like you’re trying to get out of paying for something.”
Spending hours on the phone being passed back and forth between different departments is not uncommon, and neither is submitting all the information you were asked to provide only to not hear back from them weeks or, in some cases, even months later.
Too often, it just doesn’t seem like the credit reporting bureaus care very much about getting this right. Your financial future may be hanging in the balance, but to them you’re just a single person who doesn’t have much power.
But you do have options, and you do have a way to make the credit bureaus take your claim seriously.
Holding Credit Bureaus Accountable
In 1970, the U.S. Congress passed a law designed to protect consumers from incorrect information on their credit reports called the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA. Haven’t heard of it? Don’t feel bad, many Americans haven’t. But it’s real, and it can help you.
Under the law, consumers have a number of rights, including:
- The right to dispute incomplete, inaccurate, or outdated information
- The right to seek damages from violators of the FCRA
- The right to be told if your credit report is used against you
- The right to ask for a credit score
- The right to know what is in your file
- The right to privacy: Access to your file is limited to only valid needs, such as an application with a creditor, insurer, landlord, or employer
Those top two are the key ones here. It means that credit reporting bureaus have a legal obligation to listen to and carefully evaluate your claim that their information is incorrect. And If they don’t, that you have the right to sue them.
If you’re at the end of your rope and haven’t heard back from those agencies weeks or months after you tried correcting your record, now you know: You can sue them.
Can’t afford a lawyer? You can still sue the credit bureaus. Morgan & Morgan’s FCRA lawyers won’t charge you a penny until they win for you. Contact them today for your free, no-obligation case review.
Consumers Are Fighting Back
More and more Americans are catching on to the power this law gives to take back control of their lives. According to Law360, In 2009 there were only 1,403 FCRA lawsuits filed across the whole country; by 2018 that number was 3,582. And there have been some very big verdicts and settlements in that time: a $60 million verdict against Transunion and a $3 million settlement with Equifax.
Having to file a lawsuit to reclaim your identity is not anyone’s idea of a good time, but until the system that makes it so easy for criminals to ruin your life is fixed, hiring an FCRA lawyer may be their best option. An FCRA lawsuit can cause the credit bureaus to take your case more seriously, which could lead to a quicker resolution to your troubles.
And while you can’t get back the hours and hours you spent calling and emailing and digging up old receipts and the money you spent on credit monitoring and other services — and you can’t erase all the stress and anxiety you suffered — you can possibly get compensated for it.
Hiring an FCRA lawyer at Morgan & Morgan gives you a chance to hold the credit bureaus accountable and get compensated for your frustration and financial damage.
You don’t have to keep living with bad credit that’s not your fault. You’ve got rights! Contact us, and tell your friends about the FCRA — share this article on your social media channels.