Asked in Identity Theft for California

Q: A recovery facility gave my belongings to another client. They are using my debit card for fraudulent charges.

While staying at a recovery facility in Riverside, California, the facility gave my belongings to another patient who is continuing to use my debit cards for fraudulent charges. Do I have a case?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Maurice Mandel II
Maurice Mandel II
Answered
  • Newport Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Of course you have a case if a facility is allowing fraudulent use of your debit/credit cards. You need to contact your local police regarding the fraudulent charges and file a criminal complaint. You should also, immediately close the bank account that the cards are drawing from, and move it to another bank entirely. If you are receiving direct deposit from the government, you must also notify them of this change so they can change their deposit information. After all this you can file in small claims to recover the money, and name both the facility and the person using your cards. You can also ask for the court to order the return of your property.

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Robert Philip Cogan agrees with this answer

Yelena Gurevich
Yelena Gurevich
Answered
  • Studio City, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You have a case against the person using your personal information because it is identity theft and you need to file a police report for identity theft. Inform the credit card company of the identity theft with a copy of the police report and also inform the credit bureaus of the identity theft (go to annualcreditreport.com and follow the steps- send the dispute in writing, not online) and include the police report.

Whether the facility is liable depends if they did it on purpose or not. And what evidence you have to prove their motivation. If they didn't do it on purpose, it could be possible they are negligent but it's not an easy case as you would have to prove they had a duty to keep your belongings safe and secure, they breached that duty, and that breach caused you damages.

You may want to consult with a consumer protection attorney after you file the identity theft police report.

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