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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 16528
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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I received a mailing from the law firm "Stead Law Firm" I spoke

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I received a mailing from the law firm "Stead Law Firm" I spoke with a Megan Terbay, Legal Intake Specialist that informed me that my interest rate is too high and suggested that the firm she works for can save me money with my mortgage payments. When I try to search the website that I was sent "www.steadlawfirm.com" I get another person Harry C Kaufman of Counsel.

The email has a Christopher Stead BAR #5786 out of Irvine Ca 92618 - 16500 Bake Parkway Suite 200

Need help before I send papers and bank statements that I was told to do and they would work with my mortgage company to get a better rate. I wasn't asked to send any money but in my initial call to them I asked was it a fee and was told by the person I spoke with she could not answer that question.
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 11 months ago.

Hello,

I would be leery of this company. While I can't prove that this is a scam, the signs are not good:

1) The website indicates the company is less than 5 months old and the domain name will expire in 7 more months. This is not a good sign.

2) There is no contact information on the website. There is no contact information on the website's WHOIS either. Also, the firm is using a proxy service to hide its actual identity and location. This would be a very unusual decision for a law firm.

3) According to the California Bar Association, there is no such attorney licensed to practice law in California as Christopher Stead. If I look up the Bar #5786, I find that the number belongs to a lawyer who is deceased.

For all of the above reasons, I'd pass this firm up. Taken altogether, it looks far too risky for comfort.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.

I think I gave by SS# XXXXX can I do?


 

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 11 months ago.
Hello Elizabeth,

If you gave out sensitive personal information, you want to take all possible precautions against identity theft.

If you gave out bank and credit card information, call your bank and credit card carriers IMMEDIATELY. Let them know your account has been compromised. They will probably tell you to close the account and open a new one, which you should do.

Then you must also put a fraud alert against your credit history, because they may have enough information to take out credit cards and loans in your name and then default on them, which can cause you problems. A fraud alert will protect you from that.

To get a fraud alert, contact any any one of the three credit reporting services, Equifax, Experian or TransUnion (any one of them will automatically notify the other two) and ask to have a fraud alert placed on your credit history. It is free for 90 days, and it means that if, during that time, anyone attempts to open up a credit card or take out a loan in your name, you will get a phone call before any such loan or credit line gets authorized. After 90 days, you can continue the service for a fee. I'm linking you to Experian, because I have the link handy. Again, they all perform the same service and any one will notify the other two.

A fraud alert does not negatively affect your credit. It simply protects it. You should also monitor your credit history and review your bank and credit card statements carefully to report any unauthorized transactions. If you do this early enough, credit cards will reimburse you for your loss and even your bank may be helpful.

As you also disclosed your social security number, then you would need to notify the social security administration that your number hs been compromised. You won't have to change your SSN, but you should report the issue to the IRS as well so that nobody can try to use your number to collect benefits or tax refunds due you. You are going to want to follow the directions on the Social Security Administration's website here.

Finally, you need to report the fraud to your police, to the FBI at IC3.gov and to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov, so that they can try to find these folks and bring them to justice.
Zoey, JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 16528
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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