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Identity Theft 

 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, 42% of all complaints received by their organization are related to identity theft - up from 40% in 2002.   Between January and December of 2003, the complaint database maintained by the FTC received over half a million consumer fraud and identity theft complaints.  Reported losses from fraud totaled more than $400 million.  

The costs to the victim-in terms of out-of-pocket expense and in time spent resolving problems-are substantially smaller if the misuse is discovered quickly.  The FTC reports that no out-of-pocket expenses were incurred by 67%  of those who discovered misuse of their personal information within five months of the time the misuse began.  

You can find additional information on identity theft by visiting the following websites:                              

Federal Trade Commission

www.consumer.gov/idtheft 

U.S. Postal Service www.usps.com/postalinspectors/id_intro.htm
GA Office of Consumer Affairs www.consumer.georgia.gov (click on ID Theft under Hot Topics)

Reporting this crime is only the first step in what is usually a lengthy and frustrating process of resolving your current incident and preventing future fraudulent use of your identity.  Please remember that you will need to file your police report with the agency located where the fraudulent activity occurred.  Depending on the extent of misuse, this could require that you file reports with multiple agencies.  

 

IF YOU HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT OR CREDIT CARD FRAUD:

1. Notify Credit Agencies. 

Contact the following credit reporting companies.  Explain that you have been a victim of fraud and give them your police report information.  Ask them to flag your file as "victim of fraud" and to send you a copy of your report.  When you receive the report, examine it carefully for any unauthorized or unfamiliar accounts.  Ask for the names and addresses of any creditors reporting unauthorized accounts or inquiries if you do not already have the information.  You will need to provide the agency with a copy of your police report and ask that any disputed charges be temporarily removed from your credit history so that you can still obtain credit while your case is being investigated or resolved.  

Equifax 1-800-525-6285   www.equifax.com  

Experian 1-888-397-3742   www.experian.com

TransUnion 1-800-680-7289   www.transunion.com

2. Notify merchants and creditors.

Contact each company who accepted the fraudulent charge or opened the fraudulent account and advise them that this was done without your permission.  Ask them to explain their process for resolving fraudulent transactions.  Many merchants and creditors will accept the Affidavit of Fraud form that can be found online.  Do not send this form to the law enforcement agency investigating your claim.  Maintain contact with each company until their investigations are complete.  Ask each company to instruct the credit reporting agencies to remove all information related to their fraudulent transaction from your file.

3. Review your credit report.

Allow 30 days after completion of a merchant or creditor's investigation for the credit reporting agency to send you an amended credit report.  If you have not received an amended report after the 30 days, request one from each credit reporting agency.  Review the report to ensure that the fraudulent transaction has been removed from your report.

4. Contact the Federal Trade Commission.

If you have been the victim of a fraudulent credit card issuance, contact the FTC.  the FTC is compiling a nationwide database of complaints and addresses where fraudulent credit cards and mail orders are being sent.  You can also obtain additional information on protection from the Federal Trade Commission.  The toll-free number is 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) and the website address is www.consumer.gov/idtheft

 
 

 

 

 

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