Identity theft occurs when a person steals your personal information and uses it for a fraudulent purpose. Typically, identity thieves steal financial information (e.g. credit card information) to make fraudulent purchases in your name.
How Can I Sue for Identity Theft?
Almost every state allows a victim of identity theft to sue if they suffered some kind of damage. However, often the thief themselves may have little or no money and the costs of a court case may not be worth what can be recovered from the wrongdoer. Alternatively, there may be other individuals or organizations that could share legal responsibility for your financial loss, such as credit bureaus, banks, or even the business that processed the fraudulent order. Some of the most common theories of liability available to use against either the identity thief or other potentially liable parties include:
- Fraudulent misrepresentation,
- Invasion of privacy,
- Intrusion of solitude,
- Appropriation of name or likeness,
- Publication of private facts,
- Breach of fiduciary duty,
- Infliction of emotional distress, and
- Breach of contract.
Knowing who is liable and under what legal theory can be difficult to determine. Consulting a skilled personal injury lawyer can help identify if you have a viable claim and how best to pursue your case.
Who Can be Sued for Identity Theft?
In cases of identity theft, the thief himself is always liable. However, identity thieves can be very difficult to find, and even if found may have no assets to recover in a court proceeding. Although, even if the individual identity thief cannot be found or has no money to pay for the losses, the victim of identity theft is not without a remedy. Often other parties can be held liable for their role in allowing an identity thief to cause you harm. Some parties that may also be liable for the losses caused by identity thieves include:
- Credit Bureaus,
- Businesses that process a fraudulent sale with your information,
- Certain government bodies, or
What Can I Recover?
A lawsuit against someone for identity theft is a civil case. As such, a victim can usually recover:
Should I Hire an Attorney to Sue for Identity Theft?
If you are the victim of identity theft, it is highly recommended that you contact a personal injury attorney. Only an attorney will be able to analyze the facts from your case and determine who you may have a claim against and under what possible legal theories.