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The Legal Industry and A Questionable Practice!9/23/2016
Thousands of victims of identity theft each year discharge their fraudulent debts in bankruptcy, as many are advised to do. This is a mistake. This is accepting ownership of the debts and ignoring the fact victims are not responsible or liable for identity theft debts. Shifting ownership of these debts to the victim as advised by many Attorneys is bad advice and in our opinion incompetence, and preying on people in times of distress. When you file bankruptcy on identity theft debts you accepted ownership, they’re yours now.
It’s a false assumption that discharging identity theft debts in bankruptcy is helping the victim. This is a complete miscalculation and injustice. Bankruptcy does nothing to prevent the crime from reoccurring. In fact it can do the opposite by allowing the criminal more time and opportunity to steal more from others and continue using the same victim’s identity. Do Attorneys lack the knowledge of basic consumer identity theft laws, or is it purely for financial gain? We can’t answer this, but we do question the advice from any Attorney advising a victim of identity theft to file bankruptcy.
If the consumer is given full information about their consumer legal rights under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act, “FACTA”, Fair Credit Reporting Act “FCRA” and the Fair Debts Collections Practices Act “FDCPA” of how they are not liable for these debts, how to remove them from their Credit Reports, they don’t need to pay a dime, what debt collections agencies and their law firms can and can’t say and do. If they still want to file bankruptcy then it’s their choice. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. The people we speak with daily dealing with this are telling a different story. We tell them they have consumer rights, and they are not liable for theses debts. There are government websites with steps they can take to clean this mess. They tell us this the first time anyone has informed them of their rights about identity theft.
Consumers have full power to attack identity theft debts and the debt collectors and law firms working for them. Attack them with the full power of the aforementioned consumer laws. Don’t back down. One example: Consumers need to realize under these consumer rights they have a legal right to documents pertaining to the fraudulent account in their name, the “Smoking Gun.” The debt collectors and law firms don’t want you to know this and will tell you that “You don’t have the right” to these documents, which according to Federal Consumer Laws you do. Consumers must stand firm and threaten legal action against the Debt collectors and their Law Firms for denying access to these documents. They are the one’s violating Federal Consumer Laws!
Consumers must educate themselves and stop taking no for an answer. When it comes to identity theft consumers must start attacking the nasty debt collectors and their law firms. They will back-peddle once they understand you know your legal rights and they are the one’s violating federal laws. Attorneys need to start questioning their own industry and its questionable practices, we have for years in our industry. Injustice is injustice no matter what the industry.
I have yet to see anyone address this issue. The legal industry, Financial Counseling and Financial Education industries won’t touch this topic. Many fear calling out the legal industry for questionable practices of preying on people, they fear it will put a target on their back. It’s much easier to not tell a customer something, allowing them to believe bankruptcy will solve their identity theft debt issue.
Bankruptcy is not the correct solution or correct advice for identity theft debts. Not until the consumer/victim has been fully informed of their legal rights that they can clean this mess themselves, without paying for an Attorney.
Phillip Day, President
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