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What type of an attorney do I consult with in a fraud case involving a family member who is an addict

West Palm Beach, FL |
Attorney answers 4


You need to file a Police report. The family member will, however, most likely be charged and you may get restitution. Otherwise, consult a Civil Attorney that can file a lawsuit. Be careful, however, as your family member may be Judgment Proof.

This information is a general answer and is not specific to any particular case. Carin Manders Constantine, Esq. 727-456-0032/ 727-488-8272


As my colleague suggests, w.While you may file a civil claim for damages against the identity thief, collecting on a judgment may be an entirely different story. You should contact a local attorney to explore your legal rights and available remedies.

In addition to filing the a report with your police department, also complete an identity theft affidavit. You may obtain an identity theft affidavit at

For more information on steps you may take to protect your rights, visit

Additionally, you should check your consumer credit reports to see if this false information is appearing. Often when identity thieves strike, they open fraudulent accounts in their victim’s name. Inaccurate information can affect your access to favorable credit terms, employment, and even insurance. You may obtain a free copy of your credit reports from the three national credit bureaus at once per year.

If anything is appearing on your report(s) that is not attributable to you, I would encourage you to seek the assistance of an attorney familiar with the federal law applicable to credit reporting (the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA). For an attorney in your area, visit Notably, Steve Fahlgren happens to be in your state, and is excellent in this area of the law.

This is the best first step in protecting your legal rights, and understanding the protections available to you under state and federal law. Be sure to ask about the benefits and drawbacks of placing a fraud alert on your consumer file to protect against further harm to you and your good name.

Good luck to you!!

Availing yourself of the opportunity to submit a question and receive answers to your question does not confer an attorney-client relationship with Amy L. Wells or WELLS LAW OFFICE, INC. The information provided is general legal information inspired by your question. This answer is not, and should not be construed as, legal advice. This answer should not be a substitute for obtaining legal advice from your own attorney, who may consult with you about the specific facts in your case, and advice you of your legal rights and possible remedies. Any link or reference to any site is not an endorsement of any materials or information thereon.


I agree with Carin and would state further that not only is contacting the police a good idea; if you are to reverse any of the charges that were fraudulently made, the creditors will likely insist upon a police report just to confirm what happened. So calling the police is good for those 2 reasons.

As far as the type of attorney, I would think that any general litigation type of attorney with some commercial litigation experience would be helpful. However, if you are going after an "addict" then it stands to reason that your best case scenario would be to obtain a "paper judgment" worth just that....the paper that it's written on. Good luck.

Please be advised that any answers or information disseminated above do not constitute legal advice and that the attorney responsible for this posting is merely attempting to participate in a Q & A session intended to be helpful but certainly not intended to be legal advice. It is important that you understand that no attorney-client relationship has been formed and that the attorney has no obligation to follow up with you with your legal issue unless you separately contact said attorney and arrange for him to legally represent you.


I am sorry to hear of your troubles. As a previous victim of identity theft, I have some idea what you are going through at this time. I have also been involved in hundreds of hours of litigation with the credit bureaus and obtained a multimillion dollar jury verdict against Equiifax so I have considerable experience with this problem. See

You should file a police report if you have not done so already. In my experience, I have not seen a high priority to prosecute identity thieves. If there is a prosecution, the Court has authority to issue orders to correct public records. See Section 817.568(9)(b), Fla. Stat.

You should review your credit reports ASAP. It would probably be a good idea to review your credit report prepared by Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Innovis. You can get the first three so for free once a year by calling 877-322-8228. It is a lot simpler and quicker than jumping through all the hoops on the internet and you do not risk mistakenly agreeing to waive your right to a jury trial by arbitration. Please be sure to stay on the line until you have ordered all three reports. You can order your free copy of your Innovis report by calling 1-800-540-2505.

If there are errors on your credit report, you should consider disputing with the credit bureaus who claim you owe a debt. You should be as detailed as possible. Hopefully, that will take care of the problem or at least help. Because you have advised that your case involves identity theft, you should obtain a police report and also complete a fraud affidavit from the FTC to submit to the credit bureaus along with your dispute. I strongly recommend that documents be sent to the credit bureaus rather than calling in your dispute or disputing online. In my experience, the credit bureaus take document disputes a little more seriously. If you do not dispute with the credit bureaus, it makes a case against the credit bureaus much more difficult. If you contact my office via email, I can provide a free instructional letter that helps you draft a dispute to the credit bureaus.

You should request that the credit bureaus give you an EXTENDED fraud alert on your credit reports.

If there are errors on your credit report, you should also dispute with the furnishers who claim you owe a debt. If you contact my office via email, I can provide a free debt validation letter. In your disputes, as set forth in my instructional letter, you should be as detailed as possible.

If the credit bureau, creditor or debt collector writes back requesting more information, you should provide that to them even if it seems to be a stalling tactic or nonsense. If you do not, they will take the position in any litigation that you failed to mitigate your damages. Most judges and juries are going to expect you to use your best efforts to solve the problem.

If after you dispute to the creditors and the credit bureaus, the debt collectors continue to try to collect the identity theft debt by sending you dunning letters or by placing or leaving items on your credit report, then you probably have a claim under Florida's Consumer Collection Practices Act and/or the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Please act quickly because there is a two year statute of limitations under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, although there is an argument now that it can be longer if you did not learn of the violation for some time. Your failure to act quickly could result in a loss of valuable rights. There is only a one year statute of limitations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. I cannot give you any advice as to when the statute of limitations starts running unless and until I am retained because sometimes it is not clear.

If this information has been helpful, please check the thumbs up tab below. Disclaimer: The above is intended to give you some insight into various legal topics. This information is not intended as legal advice, but rather an attempt to provide helpful topical information. Although I would welcome the opportunity to speak to you about representing you, we have not established an attorney-client relationship. An attorney-client relationship requires me to agree in writing to represent you. Unless that happens, you should not take anything I say or write to be legal advice about your situation or make any decisions based on it. It is very important that you consult a lawyer as to the specific circumstances of your case. If there are more facts that you overlooked and did not include in your initial question and you would like to email me, you may send an email to Of course, sending an email to me or my firm does not create an attorney-client relationship. We do not accept client representations by email. We do not always treat unsolicited information received by email from our website as confidential unless you have first confirmed that we do not have a conflict of interest. Please do not send us any information about a potential representation until you communicate with us to find out if we have a conflict of interest with the adversary in your particular case. As a rule, we do not represent institutions against consumers so there is usually not a conflict of interest when it comes to consumer protection but it is always safe to be sure. If you send me an email without checking to ensure there is no conflict, you also agree that our review of your email or any information in it, even if you submitted it in a good faith effort to retain us, and even if you consider it confidential, will not preclude us from representing another client directly adverse to you, even in a matter where that information could and will be used against you. Sorry for all of the legal words but I like to be up front with potential clients and my clients. Best regards, Steven M. Fahlgren Attorney, Arbitrator and Certified Circuit Civil Mediator Law Offices of Steven M. Fahlgren, P.A. Phone: (904) 845-2255 Phone: (407) 852-1711

Steven Michael Fahlgren

Steven Michael Fahlgren


Believe it or not, you should apply for credit if you would otherwise have applied for it but for the credit bureaus refusal to conduct a reasonable reinvestigation. The credit bureaus try to discount damages if you have not actually applied for credit. Until the problem is resolved, it would be helpful for an attorney if you prepared a time line in chronological order showing each debt collector, creditor and credit bureau's actions and omissions showing, at a minimum, the dates of any dispute or request for validation, information disputed, the details and date/time of all communications with any debt collector, creditor or credit bureau relating to the alleged debt and any denials of requested credit that occurred as a result. If you do not owe the debt, any objective proof that it was fully paid or that you did not incur the debt would be helpful as well. You should also provide a chronological copy of the relevant documents including credit reports, dispute letters and any information you have relating to derogatory information on your credit reports for an attorney to review. Hopefully, taking prompt action will take care of the problem or at least help. I wish you the best in the future.

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