I am being sued because my identity was stolen - What do I do?
Hannah Locklear | August 21, 2023
Summary: If you’re being sued as a result of identity theft, take these five steps: don’t panic, report the identity theft to the FTC and credit bureaus, keep everything in writing, respond to the lawsuit with SoloSuit’s Answer document, and work on recovery.
Identity theft can be a deeply distressing experience. Beyond the emotional trauma of having one's personal information misused, the legal repercussions can be daunting. Getting sued due for debt that was incurred by someone who stole your identity can seem like adding insult to injury. If you're facing such a situation, it's crucial to understand your rights and take proactive steps to protect yourself.
Here are five steps to take if you're being sued due to identity theft.
First and foremost, take a deep breath. Although the situation is stressful, you can navigate through it by being proactive and informed.
2. Report the identity theft
If you haven’t done so already, report the identity theft to the local authorities and file a report. This report can serve as evidence to prove that you were a victim. Additionally:
Notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). File an identity theft report with the FTC through their website, IdentityTheft.gov. This report can help you prove to businesses that someone stole your identity.
Contact the three credit bureau. Notify the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) about the theft, and request a fraud alert on your credit reports. This step makes it harder for the identity thief to open more accounts in your name.
File a police report. Go to your local police department and file a report. Make sure to bring a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report, a government-issued ID with a photo, proof of your address (utility bill, rental agreement), and any evidence of the identity theft (credit card statements, unauthorized accounts). Get a copy of the police report, which, combined with the FTC Identity Theft Report, constitutes your Identity Theft Report.
3. Keep everything in writing
Start collecting evidence that demonstrates that the actions for which you're being sued were not your doing. This includes credit reports with suspicious activity, transaction records with receipts, bank statements, or any other similar records that prove the alleged misconduct, and even witness statements.
Consider compiling all your evidence into one place, like a spreadsheet or a filing cabinet. This will make it easier to access any documentation to prove you innocence, should the need arise in court.
4. Respond to the lawsuit
Fraudulent debt lawsuits are not uncommon, unfortunately. Luckily, SoloSuit makes it easy to defend yourself in a debt lawsuit and beat unscrupulous debt collectors.
If you’ve been sued as a result of identity theft, it’s important to respond to the lawsuit as soon as you are notified. You should respond to the case with a written Answer. Be sure to file your Answer before your state’s deadline, which could be anywhere from 14-35 days.
In your Answer, respond to each claim against you. Then, add a section for your affirmative defenses. If the debt is a result of identity theft, you should consider denying all the claims and listing this information as one of your defenses.
To learn more about how to respond to a debt lawsuit, check out this video:
5. Work on recovery
Even as you deal with the lawsuit, you should also take steps to recover from identity theft, including:
Freeze your credit. This prevents anyone (including you) from accessing your credit reports without your permission, making it tougher for thieves to open new accounts.
Monitor your accounts. Regularly review your financial and bank statements for any unauthorized activity.
Change password. Update the passwords for your online accounts, especially for financial sites and email.
Prevent identity theft
Preventing identity theft is vital in our increasingly digital age, where personal data can be easily accessed if not adequately protected. Here are some key strategies to minimize the risk of identity theft.
Here are some basic ways you can prevent identity theft.
Don't give out personal information unless necessary.
Never share personal details over the phone unless you initiated the call and are sure of the recipient's identity.
Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet.
Only give out your Social Security Number when absolutely necessary.
Use a cross-cut shredder to dispose of credit card offers, bank statements, and any other documents with personal or financial information.
Retrieve mail promptly and consider a locked mailbox.
If you're traveling or unable to pick up your mail, request a mail hold at your local post office.
Install and update security software on your devices.
Use strong, unique passwords for online accounts. Consider using a password manager.
Enable two-factor authentication where available.
Regularly review bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions.
If you see unfamiliar transactions, report them immediately.
Obtain a free annual credit report from each of the three main credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, TransUnion) at AnnualCreditReport.com.
Review the reports for any unfamiliar activity, like new accounts you didn't open.
Spending a little extra time to enforce these safeguards to protect your identity will take much less time than dealing with the effects of identity theft.
One of the biggest headaches of identity theft is all the time it takes to file reports, freeze your credit, and further monitor your accounts to ensure no other information was stolen. As such, it’s well worth it to spend the time it takes to prevent identity theft before it happens.
Consider contacting an attorney
In some situations, you may need legal representation. Look for an attorney who specializes in identity theft cases or has experience with similar issues. They can guide you through the legal intricacies and help protect your rights.
Remember, identity theft can happen to anyone. While it's a challenging ordeal, with the right information, support, and proactive steps, you can navigate through the legal maze and safeguard your future.
You can use SoloSuit to respond to a debt lawsuit, to send letters to collectors, and even to settle a debt.
SoloSuit's Answer service is a step-by-step web-app that asks you all the necessary questions to complete your Answer. Upon completion, we'll have an attorney review your document and we'll file it for you.
And 50% of our customers' cases have been dismissed in the past.
"Finding yourself on the wrong side of the law unexpectedly is kinda scary. I started researching on YouTube and found SoloSuit's channel. The videos were so helpful, easy to understand and encouraging. When I reached out to SoloSuit they were on it. Very professional, impeccably prompt. Thanks for the service!" - Heather