The State of Colorado takes social security number fraud seriously. It has an important statute that entitles victims of social security number fraud to sue the people who harmed them, recover a minimum of $10,000 in damages, and recover their attorneys’ fees and costs for litigating their lawsuits. The statute is C.R.S. § 13-21-109.5.
C.R.S. § 13-21-109.5. Recovery of damages for fraudulent use of social security numbers
(1) No person shall buy or otherwise obtain or sell, offer for sale, take or give in exchange, pledge or give in pledge, or use any individual’s social security account number, or any derivative of such number, for the purpose of committing fraud or fraudulently using or assuming said individual’s identity.
(2) Any individual aggrieved by the act of any person in violation of subsection (1) of this section may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover:
(a) Such preliminary and equitable relief as the court determines to be appropriate; and
(b) The greater of:
(I) Actual damages; or
(II) Liquidated damages of up to ten thousand dollars.
(3) In addition to any damages and other relief awarded pursuant to subsection (2) of this section, if the aggrieved individual prevails, the court may assess against the defendant reasonable attorney fees and any other litigation costs and expenses, including expert fees, reasonably incurred by the aggrieved individual.
(4) Any action brought pursuant to this section shall be in addition to, and not in lieu of, any criminal prosecution that may be brought under any state or federal law.
If someone else used your social security number without your permission for any of the following reasons, you may sue the person for at least $10,000 in damages plus costs and attorneys’ fees:
- to obtain credit,
- to obtain a loan,
- to obtain medical or dental benefits,
- to obtain government benefits,
- to access your bank account records,
- to access your tax records,
- to access your medical records,
- to access your employment records, or
- to conduct business.
Depending on how your social security number was obtained and used, in addition to a civil claim under C.R.S. § 13-21-109.5, you could have viable common law claims for breach of confidentiality, breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, conversion, defamation, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress, invasion of privacy, negligence, negligence per se, negligent misrepresentation, or right of publicity infringement.
If you recently discovered someone used your social security number to commit fraud, contact an attorney to discuss your options.
By Ed Hopkins, HopkinsWay PLLC. | © HopkinsWay PLLC 2016. All rights reserved.