Catonsville, MD asked in Small Claims, Criminal Law and Personal Injury for Maryland

Q: How do I pursue legal action against someone who stole my phone and send money to themselves

I tried to dispute the charges twice with my bank and they denied me saying I didn’t have enough proof but I sent them screenshots of me putting my phone in lost mode, text messages from the person saying they took it

1 Lawyer Answer
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in Maryland

A: You need to go to the police, file criminal charges if you know who the person is, or at least get a criminal report filed and a copy of it that you are the victim of a crime. You give that criminal investigation report to the bank to prove the phone was stolen and your account illegally accessed. That is the minimum required. You also must dispute--in writing--any unauthorized charges on your account within 30 or 60 days (I would have to look the exact time frame up--it's in the Commercial Code, but I recall it being 60 days at one time) of becoming aware of the charges or having the opportunity to become aware of them by reviewing the account statement when it is made available by your bank--whichever first occurs. If they do not respond to that, then you can file a complaint with the regulatory agency that oversees that institution (it depends on whether it's a national bank, a credit union, a state chartered savings bank, etc.) or sue in court for breach of your deposit account agreement, and/or violation of the Commercial Code. You need to prove that you disputed the charges within the required time frame or you will lose the opportunity to sue. That's why it's best to have it in writing with a date on it and some evidence of delivery or acknowledgment of receipt, since it is your burden of proof to show you contested it within the time frame.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.