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Identity Theft

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Five Major Identity Theft Busts

Los Angeles Identity Theft AttorneyWith the increasing abilities of thieves, identity theft is becoming more and more common. Whether the thieves are able to gain your information through phishing schemes in your email, hacking your computer remotely, or by using RFID scanners that scan your information through your purse or wallet, they can use your information for virtually anything. Oftentimes, thieves will open credit cards in your name, but they may be so bold as to file for lines of credit, open fake businesses, and even purchase homes using your information.  Our attorney, Howard D. Silver, can help you recover damages if your identity was used against your will. Contact us today for help by calling (855) 341-2611.

Here are some of the largest identity theft busts of recent years:

  1. Tax fraud and identity theft scheme that landed 15 in prison in Georgia
  2. Alabama woman ran a fraudulent ring gaining over $4 million in falsified tax returns -- she was sentenced to over 12 years in prison and forced to forfeit the remaining money she hadn't spent yet
  3. Woman in Tampa sentenced for filing false tax returns for a total of over $1.5 million
  4. Two Houston men sentenced to serve 10 years in prison for tax return fraud
  5. Two men from Florida filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims -- 70 months in prison and financial restitution

If you've been the victim of identity theft, please don't hesitate to seek legal help. Our attorney will work to determine that you weren't responsible for the assumed charges, tax returns, insurance claims, etc. and help you seek restitution. You deserve the best in service, so please contact The Law Office of Howard D. Silver today by calling (855) 341-2611.

Posted Date: 
Thursday, March 31, 2016
Category: 

Identity Fraud Statistics

Identity Theft Attorneys | Los AngelesIdentity fraud is a huge problem in today's culture, with millions of identities stolen or misused every year. You may not think it will happen to you, but based on statistics gathered from the U.S. Department of Justice, you probably will at least know someone who has had their identity stolen or misused. The numbers are astounding: The average number of identity fraud cases is over 12 million annually, with an average loss of $5,130 per incident. Identity theft is defined generally as unauthorized use/misuse of credit cards, unauthorized use/misuse of existing bank accounts, and misuse of personal information to create new accounts, loans, or to commit other crimes.

Here are some statistics about identity theft:

  • Approximately 7.5% of U.S. households report identity theft
  • Total financial loss in 2014: $26,350,000,000
  • 64% of reports are for misuse of existing credit cards
  • 35% of reports are for misuse of existing bank accounts
  • 14% of reports are for misuse of personal information
  • Elderly victims numbered over 2.6 million in 2014
  • Arizona is the state with the highest rate of identity theft, with 149 per 100,000 people
  • South Dakota is the state with the lowest rate of identity theft, with 33.8 per 100,000 people

If you believe you've been the victim of identity theft, you need an experienced identify fraud lawyer to help you with your options. Contact Howard Silver for a free consultation by filling out the form on this page or calling us at (855) 341-2611. We proudly serve clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura, San Bernardino County, and the surrounding areas.

 

Posted Date: 
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Category: 

Tips for Keeping Your Identity Safe During the Holidays

Did you know that the most common way that someone suffers from bad credit reporting is due to identity theft. Credit reporting is unbelievably important because your credit score can determine whether you qualify for a loan, can open a business, or make purchases with a credit card. Unfortunately, identity thieves can steal your information and use it to make unlawful purchases, open businesses, and even file for bankruptcy; all of which will negatively affect your credit score.

While you may not be liable for the unlawful purchases that these identity thieves make, it can take months to get all of the unlawful activity removed from your accounts and credit history. During this time, your credit cards may be put on hold and your bank accounts can even be frozen.

Identity theft has become more and more common since the Internet has become so pivotal in everyone's life. According to the California Department of Justice, upwards of 2 million Californians has their identity stolen in 2013.

Identity Theft During the Holidays

Identity thieves are more on the prowl during the holidays because of several factors. While everyone is traveling across the country to visit their families, identity thieves have more chances to steal someone's credit cards simply by pick-pocketing them. AAA reports that over 46 million Americans are expected to travel during the 2015 holiday season. This can create multiple opportunities for identity thieves to steal information. They may opt for pick-pocketing and using a credit card directly, but may also go more for a more technical approach.

During the holiday season, identity thieves may attempt to steal credit information via the following:

  • Hacking all of the online shopping that occurs during the holidays
  • Creating phishing emails offering special deals for holiday shopping that are actually being used to steal your information
  • Using scanners to steal your credit card information while passing you in a crowd

While you're preparing for your holiday travel and doing your online shopping, make sure that you protect yourself from identity theft as best as you can.

Tips to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft During the Holidays

In order to keep your identity safe during the holidays, here are some steps that you can take prior to shopping or traveling. Here are some ways to avoid identity theft this holiday season:

  • Identity Theft Lawyer | Los AngelesPurchase an RFID-blocking wallet or purse to ensure that your information can't be accessed by scanners
  • Check all of your passwords and ensure that they're difficult to crack. Don't use names, dates, or numbers that are easily associated with you and your family. Make your passwords random strings of numbers, letters, and symbols. Also, change your passwords every 3-4 months.
  • Never open emails from an unknown source
  • Ensure that a website is verified and secure before entering any personal information
  • Never give your information out when you receive an email guaranteeing certain savings or deals unless you recognize the source and it is a trusted site

While it may seem like overkill to change all of your passwords and purchase an RFID-blocking wallet or purse, these precautions can help you avoid the hassles that can occur from your identity being stolen. RFID-blocking wallets and purses are effectively a way to bulletproof your garment and ensure that scanners can't access your information. In a crowded room, like an airport or bus terminal, if it likely that an identity thief can steal 40 credit card numbers in 15 minutes. Take the appropriate steps to ensure that you and your family aren't not a part of that statistic.

Ways Your Identity Can Be Hacked or Stolen

There are multiple ways that your identity can be stolen and some of them may shock you. Identity thieves will take any information they can get and use it in some of the most outlandish ways. Here are some ways that identity thieves might use your fraudulently-attained information:

  • Steal your frequent flyer miles -- thieves can hack your frequent flyer miles and even use the miles for their own flights or upgrades
  • Commit crimes in your name -- they may steal your information and commit a crime, but the warrant will be issued in your name without you even knowing it happened
  • Steal your health insurance -- by hacking and gathering your information, thieves may use your health insurance for their own treatments, but the bills will come to you
  • Hack your social media accounts -- by stealing your information, they can hack into your social media accounts and post on your behalf or ask your friends for information by pretending that they're you
  • Steal your tax refund -- by stealing your information, they could file a tax return in your name and receive your tax refund
  • Open credit cards in your name -- if thieves can hack your information, they can apply for and use credit cards that are in your name, racking up thousands of dollars against your credit

What to Do if Your Credit Was Affected by Identity Thieves

Identity Theft Attorney | San Bernardino, CAIf you've had your information stolen by identity thieves, you may feel as though you're at a loss as to what to do to remedy the situation. The good news is that our attorney, Howard Silver, has been helping victims of identity theft for decades. Though your credit score may have been ruined by these identity thieves and you may be on the hook for thousands of dollars, our attorney can help you prove that these charges were made fraudulently. He can help get your credit unfrozen and get money refunded back to you. He will help you sort things out with credit card companies and banks and then will go after the guilty parties involved in your identity theft.

For help with your credit reporting case, please contact Howard Silver today. He proudly serves clients in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and the surrounding areas. Contact him today by filling out the form on this page or calling (855) 341-2611.

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Category: 

10 Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft

Protecting your identity and your secure information is more important now than it has ever been. In the age of digital hacking, you may feel like there is no way to keep your information completely protected. However, there are some very important steps you can take to keep your information secure and prevent identity theft.

When identity theft occurs, those that steal your information may use it to purchase items, ruin your credit, and even take out loans, all of which hurt your credit and can permanently stain your record. Our Los Angeles identity theft attorney, Howard D. Silver, has decades of experience helping those that had their identity stolen regain control of their information, their credit report, and their finances. If you are in need of legal help with your identity theft case, please contact Mr. Silver today by calling (855) 341-2611.

Here are ten tips that can help you keep your identity safe from thieves:

  1. Request a free copy of your credit report -- you need to know what your baseline credit report looks like and can monitor to see if anyone has opened accounts using your information
  2. Make purchases from trusted sites -- only shop online with stores that have verified and safe credit card processing, like Google Checkout or PayPal as other non-verified sites may not be secure
  3. Don't get caught when someone else is doing the phishing -- if a web address doesn't look right or a website is asking you for information you don't normally have to give, it may be a phishing campaign by a hacker trying to get you to share your pertinent information with them
  4. Secure your network -- make sure that your router is locked and that your Wi-Fi signal is secured and password-protected
  5. No spam, ever -- spam or junk emails may seem enticing, but, if you don't know the source of the email, don't open it and don't click any links within it. Oftentimes, the viruses within these emails can access your information
  6. Keep sensitive information safe -- never put sensitive information on a site that could be accessed by someone else, like Facebook, for instance
  7. Create banking alerts -- contact your bank and ask for alerts for certain conditions, such as large transactions or being overdrawn on your account
  8. Keep passwords fresh and complicated -- a good password shouldn't contain dates or names that could be guessed, should be a mixture of capital and lower case letters, symbols and numbers, and should be changed frequently. Also, don't reuse your password
  9. Choose the optional security questions -- when a site offers to create security questions that must be used to login, always utilize them and choose questions with answers that aren't easy for someone to guess
  10. Keep what's private, private -- never put personal information on a public computer and, if you must login to a private site on a public computer, make sure you logout and delete your information when you're done

Contact Our San Bernardino Identity Theft Attorney

We hope that these steps can help you to protect your information and ensure that you're never the victim of identity theft. However, if you are in need of help because your information has been stolen and used in a manner that has ruined or hurt your credit, our Los Angeles attorney can help you. Please contact the Law Office of Howard D. Silver today by either filling out the form on this page of calling (855) 341-2611.

Posted Date: 
Monday, September 14, 2015
Category: 

What Information was Leaked in the Ashley Madison Hack?

In a recent hack, a giant amount of information was leaked on the Internet from a website that promotes cheating, known as Ashley Madison. Ashley Madison is a site that facilitates married persons finding someone to cheat with. In this recent hack, hundreds of thousands of people’s information was released for the public to see.

The Ashley Madison hack revealed information as simple as email addresses, but could have revealed credit card information, address information, and personal information like the amount of times a person cheated on their spouse using the site.

What to do if Your Information has been Hacked

If you have had your information exposed by Ashley Madison or in any other way, your identity could be at risk. If you have had a problem with your identity being used fraudulently, our Los Angeles identity theft attorney can help you file a lawsuit to protect yourself.

People that commit identity theft can use your information to steal your money, take out loans, even purchase property. The amount of damage they can do to your credit is endless, so protect yourself now by hiring our attorney, Howard D. Silver.

We will work to reverse any damage done by the people that have stolen your identity and seek damages against any credit problems they’ve caused. Call our San Bernardino identity theft attorney at (855) 341-2611 so we can help you with your case.

Posted Date: 
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Category: 

My Identity Was Stolen. What do I do?

For well over a decade, reports of identity theft have topped the consumer complaints made to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The incidence of identity theft continues to rise in San Bernardino and beyond. The recent report from the Federal Office of Personnel Management that a security breach has allowed hackers to gain access to federal background checks for over 21 million people make it clear that no one is immune.

Protecting Yourself after Identity Theft

There are many forms of identity theft which fall into five basic categories, criminal identity theft, financial identity theft, identity cloning, medical identity theft, and child identity theft. If you have be the victim of any of these types of identity theft in San Bernardino or the surrounding areas, our experienced identity theft attorney can help you through the aftermath.

  1. Contact the Credit Reporting Agencies to add a fraud alert or security freeze to your credit record. Working with Experian, Equifax and TransUnion proactively will help protect your credit rating. Be sure to get free copies of your credit report from all three agencies and review them for fraudulent activity.
  2. Contact any institution that was directly affected. If your identity theft began by losing your wallet, for example, contact your credit card companies directly. Your credit card companies can issue you a new card with a new account number.
  3. Safeguard your Social Security Number. Be careful what information you carry with you on a regular basis. Do not carry your Social Security Card or other sensitive information if you can avoid it. Do not provide your SSN to anyone who is not extending credit or a job. While some companies try to use your SSN as a form of identity verification, they must provide other options. If your social security number has been compromised, contact the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.
  4. Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file an Identity Theft Affidavit and create an Identity Theft Report. You do this online, by phone at 1-877-ID THEFT, or by mail. The FTC will give you information about the next steps.
  5. File a Police Report and be sure to get a copy for your records. Even if the police cannot do anything to investigate your case, having a report filed is essential to any recovery efforts and is often required by the credit reporting agencies or creditors.

If you suspect that you have been the victim of identity theft, please contact the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver today to schedule your free consultation by calling (855) 341-2611. Mr. Howard serves clients in Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties and throughout California.

Posted Date: 
Friday, July 24, 2015
Category: 

Social Security Numbers Active for Millions of 112 Year Olds?

According to U.S. Senator Mark Warner, there are millions of social security numbers that are still active for persons 112 or older. Sen. Warner recently brought forward a bill that would require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to better track deaths and ensure that the death benefits are ended upon a person's death.

According to a press release on April 23rd from Warner, "The SSA's Office of the Inspector General reported last month that, according to the agency's own records, there are 6.5 million people who have active Social Security numbers who are 112 years of age or older."

The large problem with this statistic is that the Gerontology Research Group stated that there were only 42 living persons in the entire world as of October or 2014. It also claimed that only 15 of them were U.S. citizens.

Warner's greatest concern is that these open social security numbers create endless opportunities for fraudulent activity for those looking to use social security numbers for identity fraud or financial fraud.

At The Law Office of Howard D. Silver, our Los Angeles identity theft attorney has handled multitudes of cases involving patrons that had their social security fraudulently used. We know how to navigate these cases and how to get you compensation for the invasion of privacy and absolute struggle these cases can be. When a person steals your identity, they may open bank accounts in your name, create false businesses, run them into bankruptcy, or steal your benefits. We know how to help you through these struggles, so please contact Howard Silver today for help from an experienced LA attorney. Call us today at (855) 341-2611.

Posted Date: 
Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Category: 

Ten Staggering Facts About Social Security Fraud

Large pile of money lost because of social security fraud. Our LA, California attorneys can help youWith so many recent breaches in security, there have been several discussions about whether or not to do away with the social security number altogether. The website, credit.com even stipulates that maybe the discussions should happen sooner than later.

Our Los Angeles identity theft attorneys at the Law Office of Howard D. Silver would like to share the following 10 baffling facts about social security fraud:

  1. In 2014, 80 million social security numbers were exposed in the Anthem breach
  2. In 2014, 11 million social security numbers were exposed in the Premera Blue Cross breach
  3. Between 2011 and 2014, the IRS halted up to 19 million tax returns that appeared suspicious
  4. Between 2011 and 2014, $63 billion was protected from fraudulent tax return claims
  5. $5.8 billion in fraudulent tax returns were paid out between 2011-2014
  6. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration predicted that between 2012-2017, $26 billion would be netted by fraudulent persons
  7. 80% of the top 25 banks give access to a bank account if someone can provide a correct social security number
  8. 96% of the top credit card companies will give access to an account if the proper SSN can be produced
  9.  A 2009 study showed that a group of researchers at Carnegie Mellon could successfully predict 90% of the SSNs in Vermont
  10. In 2010, India got 1.2 billion of its citizens to switch to a biometric identifier over an identifying number to try to halt fraudulent activity

Overall, all of these statistics show that the social security number isn’t really near as secure as we’d like it to be. The social security number was designed as a way to access social security, but, in 1972, the policy was changed and they became the major identifier for Americans. This has obviously been proven problematic.

If you’ve been the victim of any type of identity or social security fraud, please allow our Los Angeles social security fraud attorneys at The Law Office of Howard D. Silver to help you. Call us today at (855) 341-2611.

Sources: credit.com, cnn.com, interview with Treasure Inspector General J. Russell George before the House Ways and Means Subcommittees on Oversight and Social Security, arstechnice.com 

Posted Date: 
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Category: 

5 Steps to Protect Yourself from ID Theft – Los Angeles Attorney

Our Los Angeles identity theft protection attorneys can help protect you from bankruptcy and fraudWe’ve all heard about the prevalence of identity fraud in the last ten years or so, but the reality is that identity theft can occur at any time and at any place. Our Los Angeles identity theft protection attorney at The Law Office of Howard D. Silver is here to share some important insights into how you can protect yourself from identity theft.

Identity theft occurs any time a person other than yourself uses your name, credit information, social security number, bank information, or driver’s license number fraudulently. This can include making purchases, signing up for or using credit cards, filing for bankruptcy, and many other financial and personal invasions of trust.

Here are some tips to avoid identity theft:

  1. Always keep track of your imperative cards and, if you find one missing, cancel it immediately
  2. Keep a vigilant watch over your accounts and watch for inconsistencies with your purchases
  3. Never open, read, or respond to suspicious emails, especially those asking for personal or financial information
  4. Be cautious with the information you put on the Internet
  5. Keep anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer

Let Our LA Identity Theft Attorney Help You

If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, you may be struggling with bills for things you never purchased or even bankruptcy being filed in your name. You may not know where to turn, but, if you place your trust in our attorney, we can help. We’ve offered help to countless identity theft victims and are here to help you get your life back on track. Contact The Law Office of Howard D. Silver today by calling (855) 341-2611.

Posted Date: 
Monday, April 6, 2015
Category: 

Medical Identity Theft on the Rise

The recent data breach against Anthem Health Insurance has given the issue of medical identity theft national exposure and left millions of Americans insured by Anthem wondering if their personal data is now in the hands of identity thieves. While it may take a serious cyber-attack to raise awareness, medical identity theft has been a growing problem for quite some time.

According to research by the World Privacy Forum, more than 2 million Americans are victims of medical identity theft, and the number of cases increased by 22% in 2014. This is certainly an alarming trend.

One of the reasons why medical identity theft has become such a popular crime is because it’s very difficult to figure out that you’re a victim. As a result, it’s important to carefully monitor your credit report on a regular basis, and keep an up-to-date paper copy of your medical records on file. You should also request a copy of all insurance benefits paid in your name at the end of the year to make sure no false claims were made under your identity.

Based on data released by the World Privacy Forum, medical identity theft is most common in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Illinois. If you’ve been the victim of medical identity theft in the Los Angeles area, Howard Silver can help. He has more than 25 years of experience handling these complex claims, and he can make sure your rights are protected every step of the way.

Please contact the Law offices of Howard D. Silver by email or call (855) 341-2611 today to schedule your free identity theft consultation. Mr. Silver serves clients in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Riverside Counties, and throughout California.

Posted Date: 
Monday, February 16, 2015
Category: 

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