Identity Theft in Nebraska
The repercussions of identity theft can range from embarrassment to serious legal and financial injury. Assess your risk, safeguard your identity, and hire an attorney in Nebraska if your identity gets stolen.
According to Policy Advice, around 9 million US citizens have their identities stolen each year. In addition, federal authorities arrest only .14% of the criminals involved, compared with 45% of violent crime and 16% of property crime perpetrators. On a more positive note, the article goes on to state that Nebraska has one of the lowest rates of identity theft in the US. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute ranks Nebraska 49th in the US for identity theft.
What Is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is one of the most common crimes in the modern world. Criminals are constantly finding new ways to steal your information. These crimes involve the fraudulent use of components of your identity, such as SSNs, driver’s licenses, or credit cards.
Even before you become aware of any theft, thieves may have already used your identity to open new financial accounts without your knowledge. Other criminal actions include faking tax returns, fraudulent purchases, and receiving or stealing medical care under your insurance. While dealing with customer service departments for a solution, a qualified Nebraska attorney can fast-track the process. In some circumstances, taking the step of seeking legal help is necessary to get the attention of companies and recover your losses.
How Does Identity Theft Happen in Nebraska?
Identity theft can happen in many ways. Hackers are constantly advancing their data-stealing techniques. However, there are some long-standing causes of identity theft that every consumer should be aware of:
- Data Breaches – Companies often store personal financial information for subscriptions, auto-pay, or express checkout. Hackers can break into these companies’ servers and extract the personal information of thousands of people at a time.
- ATM or Card Skimmers – Hackers can place devices called skimmers that read your card’s information when you use it. The most common places for skimmers to are in ATM devices or at gas pumps. Some have even found their way into convenience stores and pharmacies.
- Digital Malware and Viruses – Hackers can access your information through phishing, fake websites, and file-sharing networks. You should always be vigilant when receiving emails from questionable accounts or when browsing online. Often, hackers will disguise their phishing attempts as recognizable brands or platforms.
- Physical Theft – Thieves can access your personal information by stealing your mail, purse, or wallet.
- Change Of Address – Another creative way hackers can steal your information is by changing your address with different services you use. Once the mail reroutes to the new address, they can access the information that would normally be sent to your real address.
- Public WiFi – While public WiFi networks are convenient, they rarely encrypt the connection. Most competent hackers can break into public networks and remotely access devices connected to them. Only use public WiFi networks if absolutely necessary, and always with a VPN.
What Are Some Identity Theft Laws?
Under Nebraska statute, criminal impersonation, or identity theft, may be charged as a Class III felony. This may happen if the perpetrator gained, or attempted to gain $5,000 or more in credit, money, goods, or services. In addition, any second or subsequent conviction is considered a Class II felony. However, if the perpetrator gains, or attempts to gain, between $1,500 and $5,000, they are committing a Class IV felony. The charge is further downgraded to a Class I misdemeanor if the fraudulent gains are more than $500 but less than $1,500.
How Can I Detect Identity Theft?
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if your identity has become compromised. However, if you are vigilant with your passwords and online presence, you can become aware of several signs that point to identity theft. Be on the lookout for the following:
- Any questionable activity you don’t recognize regarding your existing accounts
- Deposits, purchases, credit alerts, etc.
- No longer receiving mail at your primary address
- Calls or letters from debt collectors about debts you never personally incurred
- Unfamiliar charges on your accounts or new accounts you never opened
- Bills for services you never received, such as medical care
- Letter from the IRS regarding duplicate tax returns in your name
- News from a company you have done business about a data breach
- A sudden and unexplained drop or increase in your credit score
How Do I Recover From Identity Fraud in Nebraska?
The first thing you can do is immediately contact your financial institutions and suspend any compromised cards. Some companies also allow you to block any further usage directly from their app.
The next step would be to contact the institutions where you have discrepancies. If you see suspicious transactions, reach out to the places or services where they occurred. Additionally, close any accounts or cancel any subscriptions that may have become compromised.
Nebraska’s Attorney General has published an Identity Theft Consumer Guide to help victims of identity theft in Nebraska. This comprehensive guide provides detailed steps on how to recover from this type of crime. For example, if your SSN has been stolen, you should contact the Social Security Administration and request a copy of your Social Security Statement. You should also verify the accuracy of the earnings reported on your SSN. Additionally, if your passport has been stolen, you should contact the United States Department of State.
You should also consider a credit monitoring account if you don’t already have one. These services provide oversight on your credit accounts and alert you when there is suspicious activity. You can either temporarily freeze the account or close it out entirely. An experienced Nebraska attorney can also help you right some of the wrongs you encounter along the way.
Identity Theft Protections
Always take proactive steps to protect yourself from identity theft. To many, some of these steps may seem like common sense. However, it’s surprising how often people disclose personal information without a second thought. We recommend you take the following precautions to avoid someone stealing your identity:
- Do not respond to any unsolicited requests asking for personal information.
- Do not click any suspicious links in unsolicited emails.
- Enable all security and two-step verification protocols on your electronic devices.
- Use complex passwords and change them frequently.
- Install any firewall and malware detection software on your electronic devices.
- Properly shred or tear up any documents with personal or financial information before discarding them in the trash.
Work with an Experienced Local Lawyer in Nebraska
Are you facing financial or legal complications related to an identity theft issue in Nebraska? If that’s the case, we can help connect you with the right attorney to help you resolve these problems, before they spiral out of control. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Nebraska state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!