Identity Theft Claims in New York That Were Won by Consumer Attorneys

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30 Apr, 2024
Daniel Cohen
5 min
464
New York landscape with Identity Theft sign

The Empire State Strikes Back! Consumer Attorneys Leads New Yorkers to Identity Theft Victories

Whether you’re thriving in the bustle of the Big Apple or nestled comfortably in upstate wine country, identity theft can strike. Of all the top ten lists that New York ranks highly in, being a state with an outsized amount of identity theft is not a brag. But the team at Consumer Attorneys keeps helping consumers recover with big wins!

It Started as One Unknown Charge - Identity Theft in Eastern District of New York

An $85,000 Settlement for the Win

M.B., a Brooklyn resident, suffered significant harm and distress when she was the victim of identity theft in August 2020 when someone made an unauthorized purchase of $224.94 using her Capital One credit card at a Walmart in New Jersey. The trouble is that M.B. was in New York with her credit card at the time of the purchase. When she discovered the transaction in September, it quickly became apparent to M.B. that she had been the victim of identity theft.

To combat this, she promptly disputed the charge with Capital One and expected a quick resolution. There was no way a company like Capital One would question this, right? Wrong. Even though M.B. followed all the rules and expected others to do the same, Capital One failed to respond or take any action to investigate the fraud. As one might expect, the problem didn’t just disappear.

Capital One not only neglected M.B.’s dispute, they compounded her difficulties. Capital One imposed additional fees and interest on the fraudulent charge and reported her account as delinquent to the big three Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs), Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Despite her efforts to fix things through a detailed dispute and an Identity Theft Affidavit filed with the Federal Trade Commission, the CRAs either conducted inadequate investigations or failed to investigate at all. And they all kept the inaccurate account information.

The repercussions of the collective neglect by Capital One and the CRAs on M.B. were profound. M.B. suffered the financial strain that a tarnished credit report brings someone. The persistent inaccuracies in her credit report led to credit denials from reputable institutions, severely restricting her access to essential financial services and subjecting her to less favorable credit terms.

The emotional and psychological toll was equally devastating. The negligence of Capital One and the CRAs in addressing and rectifying the fraudulent activity on her account not only damaged her financial standing but also took a significant toll on her mental health. The constant worry over her creditworthiness and the fear of further credit denials led to sleepless nights, anxiety, panic attacks, and depression, all of which severely impacted her quality of life.

Rather than let the companies treat her this way, M.B. contacted Consumer Attorneys. In September 2021, NYC identity theft attorney Levi Eidelman filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York against Capital One, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, all of which were represented by some of the most prominent law firms in the world. After the initial exchange of documents, Mr. Eidelman negotiated a settlement nearing six figures with all four defendants.

M.B. was a victim of identity theft; she was also the victim of apathy by four companies that we all rely on and assume they will follow the law. M.B.’s experience highlights that companies do not always follow the law. We were proud to represent M.B. and get her the compensation she deserved.

Attorney: Levi Eidelman

Region: Eastern District of New York

Practice Area: Identity Theft

Fraudulent Furniture Fiasco Spirals - Identity Theft in Eastern District of New York

$105,000 Compensation Helped Make Things Right

Y.L. started receiving bills from a furniture store in February 2018 for furniture he had never bought through an account he had never opened. The bills totaled $1,843. At first, Y.L. thought it was a mistake that would be quickly fixed. But then, this wrong account appeared on his credit reports from Consumer Reporting Agencies (CRAs), Equifax and Experian. Y.L. soon discovered he had been the victim of identity theft and informed the CRAs. The CRAs removed the account from his credit report, and Y.L. thought the problem was solved.

In approximately December 2018, Y.L. began receiving debt collection letters from Simon’s Agency, Inc. (Simon’s) a debt collector, on behalf of the furniture store. Y.L. did not think much of it until the fall of 2020 when he was suddenly denied a mortgage application due to a low credit score. Upon a review of his consumer reports, he noticed the Raymour debt was now reporting  as a collections account by Equifax, and as a Simon’s collections account by Experian. This reporting caused Y.L.’s credit score to plummet.

In December 2020, Y.L. submitted disputes to Experian and Equifax, notifying them that this account did not belong to him. Those disputes, upon belief, were forwarded to Simon’s, as required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Experian failed to investigate or respond to Y.L.’s dispute, violating the FCRA. Equifax simply confirmed that, upon consultation with Simon’s, the account “belongs to [Y.L.].” Neither credit bureau removed the account from his consumer reports, and all Defendants failed to investigate the dispute, again, in violation of the FCRA.

Y.L. was diligent in trying to correct the problem. He followed protocols, prepared an official affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission regarding the identity theft, wrote letters, and disputed the collections with Simon’s and the CRAs repeatedly. However, Equifax and Experian failed to investigate and fix their mistakes- omissions and failures that blatantly violate the FCRA. They kept saying the debt was his, even though he had proof it wasn't. This pattern of Y.L. sending letters and disputes to Experian and Equifax and Experian and Equifax disregarding those letters happened repeatedly until March 2021.

Because of this, Y.L. did not get the mortgage he wanted, suffered from anxiety and depression, and faced the stress of debt collection for three years.

Y.L. contacted Daniel Cohen of Consumer Attorneys. Dan filed suit against Experian, Equifax, and Simon’s in August 2021 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. Two of the most prominent law firms in the world represented Experian and Equifax. But litigation is a battle of strategy, not size, and courts consider cases on their merits, not the firm's size. Soon, Dan had negotiated a six-figure settlement with all three defendants.

This case shows how people suffer when big companies don’t respond to people’s concerns. Y.L. suffered. But the case also shows how the right advocate can create accountability for the companies that ignored you.

Attorney: Daniel Cohen

Region: Eastern District of New York

Practice Area: Identity Theft

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Daniel Cohen
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Daniel Cohen is the Founder of Consumer Attorneys. Daniel manages the firm’s branding, marketing, client intake and business development efforts. Since 2017, he is a member of the National Association of Consumer Advocates and the National Consumer Law Center. Mr. Cohen is a nationally-recognized practitioner of consumer protection law. He has a wealth of proven legal experience in the US in: collective claims, representing visually impaired people who believe their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act have been violated in both the physical and digital environments, corporate governance and dispute resolution. Read more

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