Defense ID Theft: Respond and Recover from Identity Theft
Defense: Respond and recover from Identity Theft – an article from Federal Trade Commision at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/defend.html
Identity theft is primarily an invisible crime; someone steals your identity and uses it for financial gain. However, the impact on the victims and their family and community is real. Second, victims of identity theft may experience similar emotional effects similar to the victims of violent crime, from anxiety to mood swings/trama. Identity theft is a serious criminal act. Fraud or other criminal activity can occur when your personal information is stolen and used without your knowledge.
If you suspect, take immediate steps to counter identity theft and recover from it.
This two-part article is a report on the ways to respond from a victim of identity theft.
What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?
If you are a victim of identity theft, please take the following four steps as soon as possible, and record a copy of your conversation details and all correspondence.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report and check your credit report.
Fraud alerts help prevent identity thieves from opening more accounts on your behalf. Contact the following four consumer reporting companies for a free fraud number and add a fraud alert to your credit report. You just need to contact one of the three companies to raise an alert. The company you called needs to contact the other two companies and they also post an alert in the report. If you have not been confirmed by the company, please contact the company directly to issue a fraud alert.
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; PO Box Atlanta, GA 30374-0241, Block 740241
- Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com; PO Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
- Innovis: 1-800-540-2505; https://www.innovis.com/personal/credit Report, 875 Greentree Road, 8th Avenue Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15220
Once you place a fraud alert on your file, you have the right to order a copy of your free credit report from each of the three consumer reporting companies and, if requested, only the last four digits of your Social Security Numbers in your credit report. Once you get your credit report, review it carefully. View inquiries from companies you have not yet contacted, accounts you did not open, and account debts you cannot explain.
Check for information such as Social Security number, address, name or acronym, and employer’s correctness. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, please delete it. See how to correct fraudulent information in a credit report. When you correct your credit report, use your identity theft report and cover letter explaining your request for the fastest and most complete result.
Continue to regularly review your credit report, especially in the first year after identity theft, to ensure that no new frauds have occurred.
Close any accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or fraudulently opened.
- Call the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing and include photocopies of supporting documents (not original). It is important to notify the credit card company and bank in writing. Send your letter via a certified email and request a receipt so you can record what information the company received and when it was received. Keep your correspondence and attachment documents.
- When you open a new account, please use a new personal identification number (PIN) and password. Avoid using readily available information such as the maiden’s maiden name, date of birth, last four digits or telephone number of social security number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
- If an identity theft has debit or debit your account or has opened an account by fraudulent means, submit a form to the company to dispute these transactions:
- For billing and debit of an existing account, you are sent a copy of the company’s fraud dispute form. If the company does not have a special form, use a sample letter to dispute fraudulent charges or debit. In either case, write to the company at the address of “billing inquiry” instead of sending the payment.
- For new, unauthorized accounts, you can file a dispute with the company directly or submit a report to the police and provide the company with a copy called the Identity Theft Report.
- If you want to file a dispute with the company directly and do not want to submit a report to the police, ask whether the company accepts the FTC’s “Certificate of Identity” (PDF, 56 KB). If not, on your behalf, send you the company’s fraud dispute form.
- However, providing the police with a report and then providing the company with an identity theft report will give you greater protection. For example, if a company has reported these unauthorized accounts or debts in your credit report, the identity theft report will require them to stop reporting the fraudulent information. Use your cover letter to explain your rights to the company by using identity theft reports.
Once you have resolved the identity theft with your company, you request a letter stating that the company has settled the disputed account and that the fraudulent debt has been discharged. This letter is your best bet if there is a recurring error related to this account in your credit report, or if you again contact fraudulent debt.
File a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission
- You may file a complaint with the FTC using the online complaint form or by calling the FTC Identity Theft Hotline toll free at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261 or by letter to the United States Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest 600 Pennsylvania Avenue Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Clearinghouse 20580. If you have any other information or issues, be sure to call the hotline to update your complaint.
- By sharing your identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, you will provide important information to help law enforcement officers across the country track and prevent identity theft. The Federal Trade Commission can refer victims’ complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action and investigate whether the company violates the law enforced by the agency.
- In addition, you may provide the police with a printed copy of your online complaint form for inclusion in his police report. Printed FTC ID Theft Complaint together with the police report constitutes an Identity Theft Report and grants you some protection. This identity theft report can be used to (1) permanently prevent fraudulent information from appearing in your credit report; (2) to ensure that debt no longer appears in your credit report; (3) to prevent the company from continuing to charge for identity theft of debt; (4) add an expanded fraud alert to your credit report.
4. Provide a report to the police in the local police or in the community where identity theft occurred.
Call your local police department and tell them you want to submit a report about the theft of your identity. Ask if they can submit the report in person. If not, can I submit the report via internet or phone? For information on automatic reporting, see below. If the police do not want to accept your report, you can ask for a “miscellaneous incident” report or try other jurisdictions, such as your state police. You can also check with your state Attorney General’s office to see if state law requires police to report identity theft. Check if there is a phone number on the yellow page of the phone book or check www.naag.org for a list of state attorneys.
When submitting your report to the local police station, please bring a copy of your FTC ID theft complaint form, your cover letter, and your supporting documents. The cover letter explains why police reports and identity theft complaints are so important to the victim.
Ask police officers to attach or include complaints of identity theft into their police reports. Tell them that you need an identity theft report (annex or merger of police reports with your identity theft complaint) to challenge the fraudulent accounts and debt created by identity thieves. (In some jurisdictions officials will not be able to provide you with a copy of the official alarm, but you should be able to sign your complaint and write the police report number in the Law Enforcement Report section.)
What is a fraud alert? There are two types of fraud alerts: initial alert and extended alert.
- The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for at least 90 days.
If you suspect you have or will be the victim of identity theft, you may be required to list the initial fraud warning in your credit report. If your wallet is stolen, or you are taken away by a phishing scam, the initial alert is appropriate. With the initial fraud alert, potential creditors must verify your identity using what is referred to in the law as “reasonable policies and procedures” before they can issue credits on your behalf. However, steps taken by potential creditors to verify your identity may not always remind them that the applicant is not you. When placing your initial fraud alert in your credit report, you have the right to order a free credit report from each of the three national consumer reporting companies and, if requested, only the last four digits of your social security number, the number is in your credit report.
- Extended fraud alerts remain on your credit report for seven years. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft and report to consumers that your company has provided identity theft reports, you can add an extension alert to your credit report. An automated identity theft report, such as an identity theft complaint printed from this site, should be sufficient to get an expanded fraud alert. As fraud alerts increase, potential creditors must actually contact you or meet with you personally to be able to credit you. When you post an extension reminder on a credit report, you have the right to receive two free credit reports within twelve months of each of the three national consumer reporting companies. In addition, the Consumer Reporting Company will remove your name from the list of pre-screened credit quotes unless you ask them to re-list your name before that.
To place any one of these prompts in your credit report or delete it, you will be asked to provide a proper identification: This may include your social security number, name, address, social security number and other consumer reporting information required by the company Other personal information.
As mentioned above, depending on the type of fraud alert you provide, potential creditors must contact you or take reasonable steps to verify your identity. This may cause some delay if you want to get credit. To compensate for possible delays, you may want to add a phone number to the alert that you can easily reach. Remember to keep all the current contact information for the alert.
Fraud alert do not do?
While fraud alerts help prevent identity theft from opening new accounts on your behalf, this is not a solution to all types of identity theft. It will not use your existing credit card or other accounts to protect you. It also does not protect you from identity theft, creating new accounts whose names do not require credit checks, such as phone, wireless or bank accounts. Moreover, if an identity theft has occurred while a fraud alert is being sent, the fraud alert itself does not stop it. However, fraud alerts are very useful in blocking identity theft involving the opening of new lines of credit.
Please read the rest of the article‘ How to Respond and Recover from Identity Theft’ – Part 2 of 2