Identity Theft Claims in California That Were Won by Consumer Attorneys

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  • Identity Theft Claims in California That Were Won by Consumer Attorneys
30 Apr, 2024
Beth Findsen
5 min
536
California landscape with Identity Theft sign

Big California Identity Theft Wins For Consumer Attorneys! Read How We’ve Helped Others Get Compensation

With a huge consumer base in California, the residents are prime targets for identity theft- a crime that quickly snowballs into bigger problems, damaging your finances, credit score, reputation, and mental health. If you live in California and you’ve been a victim of identity theft, check out how we’ve helped others in your shoes.

When Credit Bureaus Don’t Care - Los Angeles, CA Identity Theft Case

$132,000 Compensation and Still Counting

Identity theft is rampant everywhere, and Los Angeles is no exception. This is why Consumer Attorneys has lawyers for identity theft victims ready to help consumers who live in L.A. (and everywhere else, too). We recently powered a major win against multiple parties on behalf of our Los Angeles-based client, D.R., who was able to make a full recovery after online identity thieves wreaked havoc in her life.

D.R. started receiving phone calls from an online lender named SoFi Bank (aka SoFi Lending Corp.), advising her that a $45,000 personal loan in her name was in default, with not a single payment ever being made toward the debt. Shocked and alarmed, D.R. explained that she never sought nor took out a loan with SoFi. Like many consumers, D.R. initially believed her direct disavowal would be enough to protect herself and put an end to the fraud.

However, even though SoFi failed to meet the basic standards for authenticating an online loan request when it approved the application, it reported the loan to the consumer reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) under our client’s name and advised that the loan was in default for non-payment.

D.R. filed a formal criminal complaint with the City of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, stating that she was the victim of identity fraud, and also filed disputes with the credit reporting agencies, denying the authenticity of the loan and informing them that she was a victim of identity theft. Though the credit reporting agencies claimed to investigate the dispute in pursuit of the truth, they responded by confirming that the loan details were accurate and the unpaid debt was rightfully in D.R.’s name!

To make matters worse, D.R. began receiving collections calls from a series of debt collection agencies tasked with causing our client to believe that she had no way out other than agreeing to pay a debt she never owed in the first place.

D.R.’s credit score, financial stability, reputation, and emotional health were wrecked! She also lost time and wages while having to focus on climbing out of a hole dug by thieves. And every time she thought she was close to the top, corporate disregard and reckless disinterest in both the truth and the law pushed her to the bottom again.

With this bad situation seemingly just getting worse as she battled it on her own, D.R. knew she needed to work with an identity theft lawyer in California, so she reached out to Consumer Attorneys for help, and we listened. Our top-tier lawyer, Jenna DaKroub, was assigned to the case. Jenna got to work requesting and gathering information, reviewing documents, building out a timeline of events, identifying critical violations of state and federal law (especially the Fair Credit Reporting Act), drafting and sending communications, filing a lawsuit, taking depositions, preparing experts, and advocating on behalf of D.R.

Jenna fought back against the online lender, the credit bureaus, and the collection agencies, negotiating a sizeable six-figure settlement from multiple parties. In the end, not only did D.R. receive justice for the wrongs she suffered, but her reputation was vindicated, and her credit history was restored. Consumer Attorneys congratulates Jenna and D.R. on a well-deserved consumer protection victory!

Attorney: Jenna DaKroub

Region: Los Angeles, CA

Practice Area: Identity Theft

Ripped Off By Someone You Know - Identity Theft in Los Angeles, CA

More than $72,500 Settlement

In December 2021, A.R., a North Hollywood, California resident, applied for a US Bank credit card. US Bank denied the application citing severe delinquencies in A.R.’s credit history. This denial surprised A.R. She worked hard, paid her bills on time, and believed she had good credit. But it was the holidays, work was busy, and she was busy, so A.R. didn’t launch an investigation.

The following month, in January 2022, A.R. needed a new car so she could get to work. Anyone who has ever lived in or been to Los Angeles knows how important a car is. She went to a Toyota dealer and picked out the perfect car, but when A.R. applied for financing, she was denied because the credit reports prepared by TransUnion and Experian (the CRAs) revealed a fraud alert linked to A.R.’s Social Security Number.

Fraud alert?

A.R. requested her credit reports from TransUnion and Experian. When she reviewed these reports, she was astounded to see that each contained credit accounts and personal identifiers that she did not recognize, including accounts with several large U.S. banks and auto financiers. A.R. had authorized none of these unfamiliar accounts and was undoubtedly more careful with debt than the latest reports from the credit bureaus would lead a lender to believe.

A.R. recognized one of the names associated with the strange accounts - her aunt’s! She immediately suspected that her aunt had stolen her identity, and when A.R. confronted her aunt, she admitted to using A.R.’s SSN to open credit cards, buy a car, and more.

For the next year, A.R. took all the proactive and necessary steps to address and fix the situation. She contacted the CRAs. She contacted the relevant financial institutions to investigate the unauthorized accounts. Each confirmed having an account opened under A.R.’s SSN but her aunt’s address. She contacted law enforcement.

A.R. knew that she had to get her credit reports fixed if she was going to get on with her life. The only way to do this was by disputing the fraudulent accounts with the credit bureaus and other CRAs, So she submitted an affidavit of identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission, which she used to support her repeated disputes of the fraudulent information with TransUnion, Experian, and others.

Despite her efforts, her time, her supporting documentation, and her tenacity, the CRAs neglected to fix A.R.’s credit reports. Their inadequate responses, failures to investigate A.R.’s disputes, and refusals to remove the fraudulent information continued to adversely affect A.R., her finances, her credit standing, her livelihood, her mental health, and her reputation.

A.R. wanted to hold the CRAs and the financial institutions that had ignored her accountable. She knew that to do that, she needed a lawyer to prepare a lawsuit, navigate the court system, go up against the big companies, and advocate for her. In May 2023, we filed suit in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Beth Findsen, an attorney at Consumer Attorneys, identified five defendants and was prepared to take them all to trial. Ms. Findsen conducted discovery and took depositions in the case, including the head of compliance for the auto financing company. Shortly after those depositions, the defendants indicated they wanted to settle. Ms. Findsen negotiated a more than $72,500 settlement, which A.R. found favorable and has helped her get back on her feet!

Attorney: Beth Findsen

Region: Los Angeles, CA

Practice Area: Identity Theft

Exploitation During a Long Absence - Northern California Identity Theft Case

Recovered $100,000 from Four Defendants

In fact, identity theft victims frequently get justice through the civil courts even when they can’t get justice through the criminal courts. What does civil justice look like? It looks like working with a consumer protection lawyer to fight the credit bureaus and financial institutions to clear your fraudulent debts, correct your credit reports, and get compensation.

This is exactly what Consumer Attorneys was able to do for our client, A.G., who faced the fallout of an invasive and widespread identity theft disaster when he returned to the United States after a long absence. Born in the United States, A.G.’s family moved to Venezuela to raise him, but he returned at age 18. After arriving, A.G. applied for and received a Social Security Number, though he returned to Venezuela that same year, unaware of what was about to happen to his credit.

A.G. returned years later with dreams of creating a new life, knowing that the best way to establish himself was to build a financial presence. However, as A.G. began to explore his banking and credit options, he was horrified to learn that his Social Security Number had been used to open a web of trade lines in his name, accruing and defaulting on debts for years!

Banks, credit card companies, credit unions, loan providers, and even a mortgage company had failed to use due diligence in confirming the legitimacy of the fraudster’s identity, and now A.G. was the one burdened and overwhelmed by the task of seeking justice and repairing his good name. A.G.’s credit reports from the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) were filled with these fraudulent accounts, falsely and unjustly signaling to every financial institution that A.G. was a financial disaster.

A.G. filed a police report with the San Pablo Police Department and an affidavit with the FTC, but learned that the credit bureaus and financial companies don’t make it easy for identity theft victims to recover. He disputed the fraudulent accounts, charges, and loans, provided supporting documentation from the police and the FTC, and demonstrated that none of the addresses associated with the credit lines were his. Yet the creditors failed to adequately investigate or correct the errors, even falsely confirming their authenticity instead!

Credit injustices had disrupted A.G.’s entire life, including altering his plans, impacting his relationships, and forcing him to document events, secure his credit, track down supporting docs, work fewer hours, suffer through extreme and ongoing stress and anxiety, battle sleepless nights, and fight through frustration, worry, and hopelessness. How does someone trapped in A.G.’s nightmare get justice? By hiring Consumer Attorneys!

Our talented lawyer, Jenna DaKroub, put together the puzzle of A.G.’s recovery, one piece at a time. She filed a lawsuit against the credit bureaus, credit card companies, financial institutions, and mortgage companies that failed to fix their own reckless mistakes. She drafted and filed the complaint and handled phone calls, communications, court filings, depositions, and discovery. So far, we’ve recovered nearly $100,000 from four defendants, and we’re not done yet!

Attorney: Jenna DaKroub

Region: Los Angeles, CA

Practice Area: Identity Theft

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Beth Findsen
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Beth Findsen is a Senior Litigator with Consumer Attorneys Read more

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