4 Legal Remedies for Identity Theft and Fraud in Florida
The law calls it “identity theft” when thieves steal your personal information for the purpose of opening new accounts or using existing ones, renting or buying properties, making purchases in your name, or for other sorts of criminal activity.
If someone is deliberately using your identity in order to gain a financial advantage, you need to notify law enforcement immediately and contact a West Palm Beach business and consumer fraud attorney to explore possible legal remedies.
Legal Remedies for Identity Theft
Possible legal remedies for identity theft range from criminal and civil to state and federal. A knowledgeable lawyer would educate you about the applicable law and advise about your options if you become a victim of identity theft or fraud.
Restitution to the Victim
Identity theft is a federal and state crime in Florida. Activities that fall under the category of “identity theft” or “identity fraud” may also violate other criminal statutes.
In many cases, perpetrators who commit identity theft are required to provide restitution to the victim as part of the punishment. In some states, identity theft victims can sue their perpetrators for damages in consumer fraud cases.
Recovering Damages Through a Civil Lawsuit
In some situations, a victim of identity theft may bring a civil lawsuit based on violations of federal or state consumer protection or privacy laws. Such lawsuits can be brought against such third parties as business or financial institutions that had the legal obligation to safeguard personal information.
In addition, some victims may be able to sue for constitutional violations (e.g., the right to privacy) or under civil rights laws.
State Common Law Remedies
There may also be several state common law remedies available to victims of identity theft in Florida, including lawsuits for:
- Invasion of privacy
- Breach of contract
- Intentional infliction of emotional distress
The recoverable amount of compensation depends on whether the victim will incur future potential financial losses and whether punitive damages, which are meant to punish the perpetrator, are available.
Preemption by Federal Identity Theft Law
Under the U.S. constitutional system, federal law preempts inconsistent state law on the same matter. However, federal remedies may constrain available state remedies for identity theft.
That is why you need a well-versed West Palm Beach business and consumer fraud attorney to explore your legal remedies for identity theft.
The Victim’s Duty to Mitigate Damages
The law requires identity theft victims to mitigate their damages in a lawsuit. In other words, someone who suffered harm from identity theft or fraud must take reasonable steps to contain or minimize the damage. These steps might include changing passwords, closing accounts, reporting the crime, or other reasonable actions.
A victim’s failure to contain the financial damages caused by identity theft may reduce his or her recovery in a lawsuit. Contact our West Palm Beach business & consumer fraud lawyers at Pike & Lustig, LLP, to determine your legal remedies for identity theft. Call at 561-291-8298.