Identity Theft Recovery Kit

What to Do if It Happens to You

Legal Access Identity Theft Recovery Guide

If you think your identity has been stolen, there are four immediate steps to take:

  1. File a Report with the Police
  2. Report the Theft to Each Credit Bureau:
    Make a Fraud Alert
  3. File a Report with the Federal Trade Commission [FTC]
  4. Order Your Credit Report and Begin a Credit Report Review

File a Report with the Police

File a police report. This step is required in many states and by many credit bureaus and financial institutions in order to lend legitimacy to your claim that your identity has been stolen. The police often require that this action is done in person. Do not skip this step.

Take this guide with you when you complete the Police Report, so that you have the relevant information. Be sure you know that they will ask you certify that you are telling the truth about completing the Police Report. It is important to have as many details as you can, but do not wait to take this step. Report it as soon as you have discovered this Identity Theft.

Police Report or Case Number: ____________________________________

Police Department Phone Number: ____________________________________

Police Department Address: ____________________________________

Police Department Officer Taking the Report: _________________________

Police Department Officer Badge Number: ________________________________

[This information is needed for the Credit Bureaus and Financial Institutions that may want to confirm, via their own investigation, the information in the Police Report.]

Fraudulent Activity Summary

What date did you learn about the fraudulent activity?
______________________________________________________________

What date was the first fraudulent activity committed?
__________________________________________________________

What type of fraudulent activity is there?

  • My checks were stolen
  • My address was fraudulently changed
  • My credit card was stolen
  • My debit card was stolen
  • My ATM card was stolen
  • A bank account was opened in my name fraudulently
  • There are activities on my account statement that I did not purchase/make
  • There are items on my credit report that I do not recognize and did not purchase or make
  • My Social Security Number was stolen
  • My passport was stolen
  • My Phone Card was used fraudulently
  • I have a judgment(s) on my record that I do not know about
  • Other:_______________________________________________________

Fraudulent Activity Specific Information

Please briefly describe each activity checked above. Give these details of the fraudulent transaction: (1) the amount of activity or item, (2) the date of each transaction, and (3) the name of each institution or merchant.

List Each Fraudulent Transaction Date of Activity Type of Activity Amount of Activity Merchant/Institution
         
         
         
         
         
         


Add more lines if necessary on a separate piece of paper.


Fraudulent Activity Expenses

List Each Expense Date of Activity Type of Fraudulent Transaction [from list above] Amount of Expense Reason for Expense
         
         
         
         
         
         


Add more lines if necessary on a separate piece of paper.


Fraudulent Activity Lost Work Time

List Each Missed Work Activity Date of Activity Type of Activity Number of Hours Reason [Related to what Transaction]
         
         
         
         
         
         


Add more lines if necessary on a separate piece of paper.


Fraudulent Activity Other Activities

List Each Other Activity or Action Date of Activity Type of Activity/Action Amount of Activity Related to Which Transaction
         
         
         
         
         
         


Add more lines if necessary on a separate piece of paper.

Do not wait to have all of this information to file the report, but add it to the report as you get it, by giving it directly to the investigating officer. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.


Report the Theft to Each Credit Bureau: Make a Fraud Alert

Once you have completed a Police Report and Received a copy of it, contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge.

Steps to follow:

Initial Notification:

  1. Call at least one of the Credit Bureaus
  2. Tell them that you are an Identity Theft victim
  3. Request a Free Credit report [they must comply, but may require a police report]
  4. Request a Fraud Alert be placed on your file
  5. Request that they notify the other two (2) Credit Bureaus
  6. Be persistent as they are a huge bureaucracy and you will be on hold for lengthy periods of time

Follow-up Notifications:

  1. Follow-up your call with a complete and organized writing that uses the tables, charts and information in this guide. Do not wait until you have all of the information you can submit organized periodic updates as new information becomes available.
  2. Follow-up in writing with the other two (2) Credit Bureaus Do not assume your information was transmitted to them
  3. When you follow-up be sure to submit:
    1. A Copy of the Police Report
    2. A copy of your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit [see the Forms & Documents Section of this Guide]
    3. Use the Template Letter in the Forms & Documents Section of this Guide

Review with Bureaus:
Complete the following information

Each Credit Bureau [see names addresses below] Date of Contact Date Follow-up Writing Sent Total Losses/Expenses Related to what Transaction
         
         
         
         
         
         


Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports.
Call the toll-free fraud number of anyone of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place fraud alerts on your credit report, and all three reports will be sent to you free of charge.

  • Equifax To report fraud, call:
    1-800-525-6285, and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
  • Experian To report fraud, call:
    1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742), and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
  • TransUnion To report fraud, call:
    1-800-680-7289, and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Once you receive your reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries you didnt initiate, accounts you didnt open, and unexplained debts on your true accounts. You also should check that information such as your SSN, address (es), name or initial, and employers are correct. Inaccuracies in this information also may be due to typographical errors. Nevertheless, whether the inaccuracies are due to fraud or error, you should notify the credit bureau as soon as possible by telephone and in writing. You should continue to check your reports periodically, especially in the first year after youve discovered the theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred. The automated one-call fraud alert process only works for the initial placement of your fraud alert. Orders for additional credit reports or renewals of your fraud alerts must be made separately at each of the three major credit bureaus.

File a Report with the Federal Trade Commission [FTC]

File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps us learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that we can better assist you. Also, by sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC also can refer victim complaints to other appropriate government agencies and companies for further action. The FTC enters the information you provide into our secure database.

To file a complaint or to learn more about the FTCs Privacy Policy, visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the FTCs Identity Theft Hotline: toll-free 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338); TDD: 202-326-2502; or write: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them.

To file a complaint visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.

Identity Theft Affidavit

The FTC also has developed a universal form called an Identity Theft Affidavit that can be downloading and completed, and then used to show each credit Bureau and/or financial institution, government agency or other merchant that you are the victim of an Identity Theft:
(available at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/affidavit.pdf).

A copy of the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit can be found in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

It is actually a good idea to attach a copy of the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit to each correspondence including all follow-up correspondence with any party [not only the FTC].

FTC Complaint File Date: __________________________

Address Sent: __________________________

Copies retained for later usage:


Order Your Credit Report and Begin a Credit Report Review

Begin a Credit Report Review

Begin a Credit Report Review by identifying any accounts or items that you do not recognize, or that you did not make, or that you did not authorize. Include any other statements or accounts that have fraudulent activity. Remember that this is the part that becomes difficult and time-consuming.

Complete the form, for each item, that you started with in the Police Report section. The form is reproduced here with some modifications to make this task easier.

List Each Fraudulent Item or Transaction by Institution/Merchant or Other that is Fraudulent:

Each Fraudulent Item/Transaction Date of Transaction Amount of Item/Transaction Recurring/One-time Related to what Institution/Account
         
         
         
         
         
         


Use additional sheets if necessary.

For each Institution/Merchant/Account, you will need to identify the actions and follow-up you took, along with the person at each, the date and related information. It is easier if you complete the chart below: [you only need to complete one line for each account or institution as long as you reported two or more fraudulent items at the same time to the same person. If not complete a separate line (and the information) for each transaction reported, even if it is to the same institution/account/merchant.]

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Report Made Person to Whom Report Made Phone Number Called Instructions Given by Institution/Account/Merchant
         
         
         
         
         
         


Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Credit Accounts
Credit accounts include all accounts with banks, credit card companies and other lenders, and phone companies, utilities, ISPs, and other service providers.

If youre closing existing accounts and opening new ones, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. If there are fraudulent charges or debits, ask the company about the following forms for disputing those transactions:

  • For new unauthorized accounts, ask if the company accepts the ID Theft Affidavit (available at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/affidavit.pdf). If they dont, ask the representative to send you the companys fraud dispute forms.
  • For your existing accounts, ask the representative to send you the companys fraud dispute forms.
  • If your ATM card has been lost, stolen or otherwise compromised, cancel the card as soon as you can. Get a new card with a new PIN.

Checks

If your checks have been stolen or misused, close the account and ask your bank to notify the appropriate check verification service. While no federal law limits your losses if someone steals your checks and forges your signature, state laws may protect you. Most states hold the bank responsible for losses from a forged check, but they also require you to take reasonable care of your account. For example, you may be held responsible for the forgery if you fail to notify the bank in a timely way that a check was lost or stolen. Contact your state banking or consumer protection agency for more information.
You also should contact these major check verification companies. Ask that retailers who use their databases not accept your checks.

TeleCheck 1-800-710-9898 or 927-0188

Certegy, Inc. 1-800-437-5120

International Check Services 1-800-631-9656

Call SCAN (1-800-262-7771) to find out if the identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name.

Once you receive your bank and account statements, review them carefully. Look for items you did not initiate, expenses you did not make, and unexplained debits on your accounts. You also should check that information such as your SSN, address(es), name or initial, and employers are correct. Inaccuracies in this information also may be due to typographical errors. Nevertheless, whether the inaccuracies are due to fraud or error, you should notify the credit institution as soon as possible by telephone and in writing. You should continue to check your bank and account statements periodically, especially in the first year after youve discovered the theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.

Complete for each Account/Credit Card/Merchant account cancelled:

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Account Cancelled Person to Whom Cancellation Reported Phone Number Called Instructions Given by Institution/Account/Merchant
         
         
         
         
         
         


Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Credit Accounts
Credit accounts include all accounts with banks, credit card companies and other lenders, and phone companies, utilities, ISPs, and other service providers.

If youre closing existing accounts and opening new ones, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords.
If there are fraudulent charges or debits, ask the company about the following forms for disputing those transactions:

  • For new unauthorized accounts, ask if the company accepts the ID Theft Affidavit (available at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/affidavit.pdf). If they dont, ask the representative to send you the companys fraud dispute forms.
  • For your existing accounts, ask the representative to send you the companys fraud dispute forms.

If your ATM card has been lost, stolen or otherwise compromised, cancel the card as soon as you can. Get a new card with a new PIN.

After the Initial Calls

After you have made the initial calls in each of the four (4) steps above, then complete the charts and write Letters to each of these Institutions/Accounts/ Merchants and include the following:

  1. Copy of the Police Report
  2. Copy of the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit
  3. Copy of the tables in this chart completed
  4. Use the form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide as a template to write this letter

Be sure to write immediately after the call and not wait until you have all information. You can follow-up with more information as it becomes available. Send everything Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested and keep copies of everything in a safe place.

Follow-up Call/Letters/Transactions

Follow-up with Each Credit Bureau:

  1. Use the template letter in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide
  2. A highlighted version of your Credit Report showing the relevant inaccuracies
  3. Include another copy of your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit

Special Resolution Circumstances

Stolen Checks:

If your checks have been stolen, call the appropriate financial institution and report the problem. Put a stop payment on any outstanding checks that you know you did not write. It might be required that you must close this account and open a new account. Be sure to file a report with your financial institutions fraud department, so that you can explain this account closing later if you apply for credit. Send a follow-up letter using the form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

______________________________ ___________________ ____________________________ _______________________
Financial Institution Date contacted Person Contacted Phone Number

Date Follow-up Letter sent: _____________________

Date Additional Follow-up Sent: _____________________

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Follow-up Sent Person to Whom Follow-up Sent Phone Number Called Type of Follow-up Sent
         
         
         
         
         
         


Bank Accounts Fraudulently Established in Your Name:

If bank accounts have been opened in your name, call the appropriate financial institution and report the problem. Put a stop payment on any outstanding checks that you know you did not write. It might be required that you must close any accounts you do have and open a new account. Be sure to file a report with your financial institutions fraud department, so that you can explain this account closing later if you apply for credit. Send a follow-up letter using the Form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

______________________________ ___________________ ____________________________ _______________________
Financial Institution Date contacted Person Contacted Phone Number

Date Follow-up Letter sent: _____________________

Date Additional Follow-up Sent: _____________________

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Follow-up Sent Person to Whom Follow-up Sent Phone Number Called Type of Follow-up Sent
         
         
         
         
         
         


Stolen ATM Cards:

If your ATM Card has been stolen, call the appropriate financial institution and report the problem. It will likely be required that you must close this account and open a new account. Be sure to file a report with your financial institutions fraud department, so that you can explain this account closing later if you apply for credit. Send a follow-up letter using the Form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

______________________________ ___________________ ____________________________ _______________________
Financial Institution Date contacted Person Contacted Phone Number

Date Follow-up Letter sent: _____________________

Date Additional Follow-up Sent: ______________________

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Follow-up Sent Person to Whom Follow-up Sent Phone Number Called Type of Follow-up Sent
         
         
         
         
         


Postal Address Issues:

Be sure to file a report with your financial institutions fraud department, so that you can explain this account closing later if you apply for credit. Send a follow-up letter using the Form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

______________________________ ___________________ ____________________________ _______________________
Financial Institution Date contacted Person Contacted Phone Number

Date Follow-up Letter sent: _____________________

Date Additional Follow-up Sent: ______________________

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Follow-up Sent Person to Whom Follow-up Sent Phone Number Called Type of Follow-up Sent
         
         
         
         
         


Social Security Number Stolen:

Be sure to file a report with your financial institutions fraud department, so that you can explain this account closing later if you apply for credit. Send a follow-up letter using the Form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

______________________________ ___________________ ____________________________ _______________________
Financial Institution Date contacted Person Contacted Phone Number

Date Follow-up Letter sent: _____________________

Date Additional Follow-up Sent: ______________________

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Follow-up Sent Person to Whom Follow-up Sent Phone Number Called Type of Follow-up Sent
         
         
         
         
         

Phone Card Stolen:

Be sure to file a report with your financial institutions fraud department, so that you can explain this account closing later if you apply for credit. Send a follow-up letter using the Form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

______________________________ ___________________ ____________________________ _______________________
Financial Institution Date contacted Person Contacted Phone Number

Date Follow-up Letter sent: _____________________

Date Additional Follow-up Sent: ______________________

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Follow-up Sent Person to Whom Follow-up Sent Phone Number Called Type of Follow-up Sent
         
         
         
         
         


Passport Stolen:

Be sure to file a report with your financial institutions fraud department, so that you can explain this account closing later if you apply for credit. Send a follow-up letter using the Form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

______________________________ ___________________ ____________________________ _______________________
Financial Institution Date contacted Person Contacted Phone Number

Date Follow-up Letter sent: _____________________

Date Additional Follow-up Sent: ______________________

Each Institution/ Account/Merchant Date Follow-up Sent Person to Whom Follow-up Sent Phone Number Called Type of Follow-up Sent
         
         
         
         
         


Drivers License Number Stolen

If you think your name or SSN is being used by an identity thief to get a drivers license or a non-drivers ID card, contact your DMV. If your state uses your SSN as your drivers license number, ask to substitute another number.

Be sure to file a report with your States Department of Motor Vehicles, and request another licenses. If you do not go in person, be sure to send a follow-up letter using the Form in the Forms & Documents section of this Guide.

______________________________ ___________________ ____________________________ _______________________
State DMV Office Date contacted Person Contacted Phone Number

Date Follow-up Letter sent: _____________________

Date Additional Follow-up sent: ______________________


Additional Resources


Bankruptcy Fraud
U. S. Trustee (UST) www.usdoj.gov/ust
If you believe someone has filed for bankruptcy in your name, write to the U.S. Trustee in the region where the bankruptcy was filed. A list of the U.S. Trustee Programss Regional Offices is available on the UST Web site, or check the Blue Pages of your phone book under U.S. Government Bankruptcy Administration.
Your letter should describe the situation and provide proof of your identity. The U.S. Trustee, if appropriate, will make a criminal referral to law enforcement authorities if you provide appropriate documentation to substantiate your claim. You also may want to file a complaint with the U.S. Attorney and/or the FBI in the city where the bankruptcy was filed. The U.S. Trustee does not provide legal representation, legal advice or referrals to lawyers. That means you may need to hire an attorney to help convince the bankruptcy court that the filing is fraudulent. The U.S. Trustee does not provide consumers with copies of court documents. Those documents are available from the bankruptcy clerks office for a fee.

Criminal Violations
Although procedures to correct your record within the criminal justice databases vary from state to state, and even from county to county, the following information can be used as a general guide.
If wrongful criminal violations are attributed to your name, contact the arresting or citing law enforcement agency that is, the police or sheriffs department that originally arrested the person using your identity, or the court agency that issued the warrant for the arrest. File an impersonation report. And have your identity confirmed: The police department takes a full set of your fingerprints and your photograph, and copies any photo identification documents like your drivers license, passport or visa. Ask the law enforcement agency to compare the prints and photographs with those of the imposter to establish your innocence. If the arrest warrant is from a state or county other than where you live, ask your local police department to send the impersonation report to the police department in the jurisdiction where the arrest warrant, traffic citation or criminal conviction originated.
The law enforcement agency should then recall any warrants and issue a clearance letter or certificate of release (if you were arrested/booked). Youll need to keep this document with you at all times in case youre wrongly arrested. Also, ask the law enforcement agency to file, with the district attorneys (D.A.) office and/or court where the crime took place, the record of the follow-up investigation establishing your innocence. This will result in an amended complaint being issued. Once your name is recorded in a criminal database, its unlikely that it will be completely removed from the official record. Ask that the key name, or primary name, be changed from your name to the imposters name (or to John Doe if the imposters true identity is not known), with your name noted only as an alias.
Youll also want to clear your name in the court records. Youll need to determine which state law(s) will help you do this and how. If your state has no formal procedure for clearing your record, contact the D.A.s office in the county where the case was originally prosecuted. Ask the D.A.s office for the appropriate court records needed to clear your name.
Finally, contact your state DMV to find out if your drivers license is being used by the identity thief. Ask that your files be flagged for possible fraud.
You may need to hire a criminal defense attorney to help you clear your name. Contact Legal Services in your state or your local bar association for help in finding an attorney.

Fake Drivers License
If you think your name or SSN is being used by an identity thief to get a drivers license or a non-drivers ID card, contact your DMV. If your state uses your SSN as your drivers license number, ask to substitute another number.

Investment Fraud
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) www.sec.gov
The SECs Office of Investor Education and Assistance serves investors who complain to the SEC about investment fraud or the mishandling of their investments by securities professionals. If you believe that an identity thief has tampered with your securities investments or a brokerage account, immediately report it to your broker or account manager and to the SEC. You can file a complaint with the SEC using the online Complaint Center at www.sec.gov/complaint.shtml. Be sure to include as much detail as possible. If you dont have access to the Internet, you can write to the SEC at: SEC Office of Investor Education and Assistance, 450 Fifth Street, NW, Washington DC, 20549-0213. For general questions, call 202-942-7040.

Mail Theft
U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect
USPIS is the law enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service responsible for investigating cases of identity theft. USPIS has primary jurisdiction in all matters infringing on the integrity of the U.S. mail. If an identity thief has stolen your mail to get new credit cards, bank or credit card statements, pre-screened credit offers or tax information, has falsified change-of-address forms, or obtained your personal information through a fraud conducted by mail, report it to your local postal inspector. You can locate the USPIS district office nearest you by calling your local post office or checking the list at the Web site above.

Passport Fraud
United States Department of State (USDS) http://travel.state.gov/passport/lost/lost_849.html
If youve lost your passport or believe it was stolen or is being used fraudulently, contact the USDS through their Web site or call a local USDS field office. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.

Phone Fraud
If an identity thief has established phone service in your name, is making unauthorized calls that seem to come from and are billed to your cellular phone, or is using your calling card and PIN, contact your service provider immediately to cancel the account and/or calling card. Open new accounts and choose new PINs. If youre having trouble getting fraudulent phone charges removed from your account or getting an unauthorized account closed, contact the appropriate agency from the list below.
For local service, contact your state Public Utility Commission.
For cellular phones and long distance, contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) www.fcc.gov. The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. You can contact the FCCs Consumer Information Bureau to find out about information, forms, applications and current issues before the FCC. Call: 1-888-CALL-FCC; TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC; or write: Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Information Bureau, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 5A863, Washington, DC 20554. You can file complaints via the online complaint form at www.fcc.gov, or e-mail questions to fccinfo@fcc.gov.

Social Security Number Theft and Misuse
Social Security Administration (SSA) www.ssa.gov
The SSA Office of the Inspector General investigates cases of identity theft. Report allegations that an SSN has been stolen or misused to the SSA Fraud Hotline. Call: 1-800- 269-0271; fax: 410-597-0118; write: SSA Fraud Hotline, P.O. Box 17768, Baltimore, MD 21235; or e-mail: oig.hotline@ssa.gov.
Also call SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the accuracy of the earnings reported on your SSN, and to request a copy of your Social Security Statement. Follow up in writing.
SSA publications:

Tax Fraud
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) www.treas.gov/irs/ci
The IRS is responsible for administering and enforcing tax laws. If you believe someone has assumed your identity to file federal Income Tax Returns, or to commit other tax fraud, call toll-free: 1-800-829-0433. Victims of identity theft who are having trouble filing their returns should call the IRS Taxpayer Advocates Office, toll-free: 1-877-777-4778.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) www.ftc.gov
The FTC is educating consumers and businesses about the importance of personal information privacy. Here are some additional publications you may find useful. To request a free copy, call 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

  • Getting Purse-onal: What to Do If Your Wallet or Purse Is Stolen
  • Identity Crisis... What to Do If Your Identity Is Stolen
  • Identity Thieves Can Ruin Your Good Name: Tips for Avoiding Identity Theft
  • Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud
  • Credit, ATM and Debit Cards: What to Do If Theyre Lost or Stolen
  • Credit Card Loss Protection Offers: Theyre The Real Steal
  • Electronic Banking
  • Fair Credit Billing
  • Fair Credit Reporting
  • Fair Debt Collection
  • How to Dispute Credit Report Errors

Department of Justice (DOJ) www.usdoj.gov
The DOJ and its U.S. Attorneys prosecute federal identity theft cases. Information on identity theft is available at www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/idtheft.html.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) www.fbi.gov
The FBI, a criminal law enforcement agency, investigates cases of identity theft. The FBI recognizes that identity theft is a component of many crimes including bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud, insurance fraud, fraud against the government, and terrorism. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.
U.S. Secret Service (USSS) www.treas.gov/usss
The U.S. Secret Service investigates financial crimes, which may include identity theft. Although the Secret Service generally investigates cases where the dollar loss is substantial, your information may provide evidence of a larger pattern of fraud requiring their involvement. Local field offices are listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.
Financial Crimes Division www.treas.gov/usss/financial_crimes.shtml

Its the Law

Federal Law

The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, enacted by Congress in October 1998 (and codified, in part, at 18 U.S.C. 1028) is the federal law making identity theft a crime.

Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act of 1998

The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act makes it a federal crime when someone knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.

Under the Act, a name or SSN is considered a means of identification. So is a credit card number, cellular telephone electronic serial number or any other piece of information that may be used alone or in conjunction with other information to identify a specific individual.

Violations of the Act are investigated by federal law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and SSAs Office of the Inspector General. Federal identity theft cases are prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In most instances, a conviction for identity theft carries a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment, a fine and forfeiture of any personal property used or intended to be used to commit the crime. Pursuant to the Act, the U.S. Sentencing Commission has developed federal sentencing guidelines to provide appropriate penalties for those persons convicted of identity theft.

Schemes to commit identity theft or fraud also may involve violations of other statutes, such as credit card fraud, computer fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, financial institution fraud, or Social Security fraud. Each of these federal offenses is a felony and carries substantial penalties in some cases, as high as 30 years in prison as well as fines and criminal forfeiture.

State Laws
Many states have passed laws related to identity theft; others are considering such legislation. Where specific identity theft laws do not exist, the practices may be prohibited under other laws. Contact your State Attorney Generals office (for a list of state offices, visit www.naag.org) or local consumer protection agency for laws related to identity theft, or visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft. State laws enacted at the time of this booklets publication are listed below.

Alabama
Alabama Code 13A-8-190 through 201

Alaska
Alaska Stat. 11.46.565

Arizona
Ariz. Rev. Stat. 13-2008

Arkansas
Ark. Code Ann. 5-37-227

California
Cal. Penal Code 530.5-530.8

Colorado
No ID theft law

Connecticut
Conn. Stat. 53a-129a (criminal);
Conn. Stat. 52-571h (civil)

Delaware
11 Del Code, 854

Florida
Fla. Stat. Ann. 817.568

Georgia
Ga. Code Ann. 16-9-120 through 128

Hawaii
No ID theft law

Idaho
Idaho Code 18-3126 (criminal); Idaho Code 28-51-102 (civil)

Illinois
720 Ill. Comp. Stat. 5/16G

Indiana
Ind. Code 35-43-5-3.5

Iowa
Iowa Code 715A.8 (criminal); Iowa Code 714.16.B (civil)

Kansas
Kan. Stat. Ann. 21-4018

Kentucky
Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. 514.160

Louisiana
La. Rev. Stat. Ann. 14:67.16

Maine
No ID theft law

Maryland
Md. Code Ann. art. 27, 231

Massachusetts
Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266, 37E

Michigan
Mich. Comp. Laws 750.219e

Minnesota
Minn. Stat. 609.527

Mississippi
Miss. Code Ann. 97-19-85

Missouri
Mo. Rev. Stat. 570.223

Montana
Mon. Code Ann. 45-6-332

Nebraska
No ID theft law

Nevada
Nev. Rev. State. 205.463-465

New Hampshire
N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. 638:26

New Jersey
N.J. Stat. Ann. 2C:21-17

New Mexico
N.M. Stat. Ann. 30-16-24.1

New York
No ID theft law

North Carolina
N.C. Gen. Stat. 14-113.20-23

North Dakota
N.D.Cent. Codes 12.1-23-11

Ohio
Ohio Rev. Code Ann. 2913.49

Oklahoma
Okla. Stat. tit. 21, 1533.1

Oregon
Or. Rev. Stat. 165.800

Pennsylvania
18 Pa. Cons. Stat. 4120

Rhode Island
R.I. Gen. Laws Sect. 11-49-1.1

South Carolina
S.C. Code Ann. 16-13-510

South Dakota
S.D. Codified Laws 22-30A-3.1.

Tennessee
TCA 39-14-150 (criminal); TCA 47-18-2101 (civil)

Texas
Tex. Penal Code 32.51

Utah
Utah Code Ann. 76-6-1101-1104

Virginia
Va. Code Ann. 18.2-186.3

Vermont
No ID theft law

Washington
Wash. Rev. Code 9.35.020

West Virginia
W. Va. Code 61-3-54

Wisconsin
Wis. Stat. 943.201

Wyoming
Wyo. Stat. Ann. 6-3-901

U.S. TERRITORIES

Guam
9 Guam Code Ann. 46.80

U.S. Virgin Islands
No ID theft law

Appendix

Identity Theft Recovery Kit
1  
Sections Available in
Avoiding Scams & Fraud
Stolen Identity Procedures
If It Happens to You...
Prevention
Placing a Fraud Alert
Learning About Credit Reports
Criminal Identity Theft
Identity Theft FAQ
Identity Theft Recovery Kit
Identity Theft Forms
SSN & Privacy FAQ
Identity Theft Resources
Identity Theft Laws

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