You May Be Entitled To Money for Robocalls If You’ve Been The Victim Of Identity Theft.
There are currently over 7 and a half billion people on Earth right now. Now imagine how many of those individuals share the same exact full name. Hundreds if not thousands of people walk the Earth with identical names, and with respect to common names like Michael Smith or Alex Rodriguez it is far more. Unfortunately, as a result, these individuals are prone to becoming victims of enormous identity theft scandals.
Where an individual owes a debt, the creditor often times attempts to pursue collection of the debt by way of automated RoboCalls and pre-recorded messages. These annoying RoboCalls can literally drive you insane. With your phone ringing off the hook constantly you could be driven to the brink of canceling your cell-phone service, changing your telephone number, or even destroying your phone. Worst of all, because these individuals are the victim of identity theft, often times the debt at issue that is being called about is not even their own. As a result, these calls have massive financial consequences with respect to violations of the FDCPA, TCPA, and FCRA, which could land victims hundreds of thousands of dollars. These laws have been enacted for the benefit of the consumer, and here at The Tariq Law Firm, PLLC we will do everything within our power to ensure that your rights are vindicated.
The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) is a federal regulation that was enacted in order to restrict telephone solicitations such as telemarketing with the use of automated telephone equipment to a person’s cell phone without prior express written consent. Express written consent must be unambiguous, meaning that the consumer must receive a “clear and conspicuous disclosure” that he/she will receive future calls/text messages that deliver auto-dialed and/or pre-recorded telemarketing messages; that his/her consent is not a condition of purchase, and he/she must designate a phone number at which to be reached. And even for non-marketing messages, companies require at the very least, express consent, which can only be implied by the provision of the number in certain sets of circumstances. Moreover, the FCC in its 2015 Declaratory Ruling confirmed that a called party may revoke consent at any time and through any reasonable means and a caller may not limit the manner in which revocation may occur. Consent is extremely important, and without it, companies that continue to harass individuals with the use of an automated telephone dialing system (ATDS) risk substantial fines due to statutory violations. Because violations exist with respect to each call that was received without express written consent or even calls that are received after consent is revoked, claims for TCPA violations can easily reach upwards of $50,000 dollars and more recently the FCC fined a man $120 million dollars for illegal robo-calling. Clearly, the right TCPA claim can be quite lucrative.
If you’ve been the victim of identity theft, you never provided consent to receive auto-dialed calls altogether. It is important to continuously tell creditors that you have been the victim of identity theft, revoke any prior consent that may have been given, fill out the appropriate identity theft packets with the FTC and IRS, file a police report, and inform the credit bureaus as soon as possible.
Along with the TCPA, a consumer can count on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) to protect against unlawful practices administered by debt collectors. The first step in pursuing a claim for a violation of the FDCPA is to know whether the FDCPA applies to your debt collector. There are generally 4 factors that will determine whether the FDCPA applies to your case. First, you must be deemed a consumer under the FDCPA. If the debt collector is collecting against a debtor that is not a consumer (e.g., a business, partnership, LLC, etc.), then the FDCPA does not apply. Second, the debt that you, the consumer owes must be considered a consumer debt. To be a consumer debt it must have been incurred for household or personal use. If you incurred the debt for primarily business purposes, then your debt is not a consumer debt and the FDCPA does not apply. Third, the person collecting the debt against you must be considered a debt collector under the FDCPA. Debt collector basically includes anyone other than the original creditor (e.g., the person/business you initially owed money to can not be the same person/business collecting against you).
Fourth, and most obviously, the debt collector must have violated the FDCPA. To give you an idea of what violations look/feel like, the following are somewhat common violations: (i) any lie by the debt collector (as to their identity, as to what you owe, etc.), (ii) any use of any offensive language, (iii) failing to disclose the purpose of their call (e.g., to collect a debt), (iv) calling your friends, family, neighbors, etc. when the debt collector has your phone number, (v) calling you too often (greater than 3 times per day) or at ridiculous times (very early in the morning or late at night), etc. Keep in mind that there are tons and tons of violations and the list above is just a general description of some common violations. By contacting us, you may be able to receive $1,000 in penalties from your debt collector plus any actual damages you have suffered (e.g., emotional distress, loss of employment, etc.) plus the cost of your attorney fees.
And finally we have the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) promotes the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of information in the files of consumer reporting agencies. Some of your major rights under the FCRA are as follows: (i) You must be told if information in your file has been used against you, (ii) You have the right to know what is in your file, (iii) You have the right to ask for a credit score, (iv) You have the right to dispute incomplete or inaccurate information, (v) Consumer reporting agencies must correct or delete inaccurate, incomplete, or unverifiable information, (vi) Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information, (vii) Access to your file is limited, (viii) You must give your consent for reports to be provided to employers, (ix) You may limit “prescreened” offers of credit and insurance you get based on information in your credit report, (x) You may seek damages from violators, (xi) Identity theft victims and active duty military personnel have additional rights. Keep in mind that there are tons and tons of violations and the list above is just a general description of some common violations.
Debt collectors do not always take the necessary steps to ensure that the person they’re reaching out to in regards to an alleged debt is the person who actually owes the debt. Consequently, debt free individuals suffer extreme hardship from countless calls that are unrelated to their personal finances since they’re receiving calls intended for some other individual that so happens to share the same exact name. However, that is no excuse for, and if you happen to be a victim of such an experience than you should know that you may be entitled to substantial compensation. For example, here at The Tariq Law Firm, PLLC we defended a client that received well over six hundred phone calls over the course of a few years. As a result, the case was valued at well over 1 million dollars. If this is happening to you, make sure you do something about it.
Here at The Tariq Law Firm we specialize in consumer protection claims and are here to help put an end to those aggravating calls, while simultaneously getting you the compensation you rightfully deserve.