Family Legal Plan
Family Protection Plan
Small Business Legal Plan
Identity Theft Awareness Program
What are the steps I should take if I'm a victim of identity theft?
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following four steps as soon as possible, and keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit
Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you're entitled to order free copies of your credit reports, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Check that information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed. See Correcting Fraudulent Information in Credit Reports to learn how. Continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered
with or opened fraudulently.
When you open new accounts, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
If the identity thief has made charges or debits on your accounts, or has fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions:
Once you have resolved your identity theft dispute with the company, ask for a letter stating that the company has closed the disputed accounts and has discharged the fraudulent debts. This letter is your best proof if errors relating to this account reappear on your credit report or you are contacted again about the fraudulent debt.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
You can file a complaint with the FTC using the online complaint form; or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.
File a report with your local police or the police in the community
where the identity theft took place.
When you go to your local police department to file a complaint, bring a printed copy of your ID Theft Complaint form and your supporting documentation. Ask the officer to attach or incorporate the Complaint into their police report. Also ask the officer to sign the “Law Enforcement Report” section of your Compliant. If the officer wants more information about the ID Theft Report, you can tell them it is available on the FTC’s Web site’s Section for Law Enforcement at the link for “Identity Theft Report”. Ask the officer to give you a copy of the official police report with your ID Theft Complaint attached or incorporated. (In some jurisdictions the officer will not be able to give you a copy of the official police report, but should be able to sign your Complaint and write the police report number in the “Law Enforcement Report” section.)
The ID Theft Complaint can be used to supplement an automated police report. If you can online file an automated report, complete the “Automated Report Information” block of the ID Theft Complaint. Attach a copy of any confirmation received from the police to you ID Theft Complaint.
Additional information regarding this and other identity theft related subjects can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/defend.html#two.
What is a fraud alert?
There are two types of fraud alerts: an initial alert, and an extended alert.
To place either of these alerts on your credit report, or to have them removed, you will be required to provide appropriate proof of your identity: that may include your Social Security number, name, address and other personal information requested by the consumer reporting company.
When a business sees the alert on your credit report, they must verify your identity before issuing you credit. As part of this verification process, the business may try to contact you directly. This may cause some delays if you're trying to obtain credit. To compensate for possible delays, you may wish to include a cell phone number, where you can be reached easily, in your alert. Remember to keep all contact information in your alert current.
What is an identity theft report?
An ID Theft Report can be used permanently block fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report. An ID Theft Report will also make sure these debts do not reappear on your credit report. An ID Theft can prevent a company from continuing to collect debts that result from identity theft, or selling them to others for collection. It’s also needed to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.
An identity theft report may have two steps can be used to block fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report. It is also needed to place an extended fraud alert. :
Step One is a copy of a report filed with a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency, like your local police department, your State Attorney General, the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, the FTC, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. There is no federal law requiring a federal agency to take a report about identity theft; however, some state laws require local police departments to take reports. The law requires the report to provide as much information as you can about the crime, including anything you know about the dates of the identity theft, the fraudulent accounts opened and the alleged identity thief. If you do not provide detailed information, it may be impossible for consumer reporting companies and creditors to comply with your requests.
Step Two of an identity theft report depends on the policies of the consumer reporting company and the information provider (the business that sent the information to the consumer reporting company). That is, they may ask you to provide information or documentation in addition to that included in the law enforcement report which is reasonably intended to verify your identity theft. They must make their request within 15 days of receiving your law enforcement report, or, if you already obtained an extended fraud alert on your credit report, the date you submit your request to the credit reporting company for information blocking. The consumer reporting company and information provider then have 15 more days to work with you to make sure your identity theft report contains everything they need. They are entitled to take five days to review any information you give them. For example, if you give them information 11 days after they request it, they do not have to make a final decision until 16 days after they asked you for that information. If you give them any information after the 15-day deadline, they can reject your identity theft report as incomplete; you will have to resubmit your identity theft report with the correct information.
You may find that most federal and state agencies, and some local police departments, offer only "automated" reports, reports that do not require a face-to-face meeting with a law enforcement officer. Automated reports may be submitted online, or by telephone or mail. If you have a choice, do not use an automated report. The reason? It's more difficult for the consumer reporting company or information provider to verify the information. Unless you are asking a consumer reporting company to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report, you probably will have to provide additional information or documentation when you use an automated report.
What do I do if the local police won't take a report?
There are efforts at the federal, state and local level to ensure that local law enforcement agencies understand identity theft, its impact on victims, and the importance of taking a police report. However, we still hear that some departments are not taking reports. The following tips may help you to get a report if you're having difficulties:
Some states require the police to take reports for identity theft. Check with the office of your State Attorney General www.naag.org to find out if your state has this law.
How do I prove that I'm an identity theft victim?
Applications or other transaction records related to the theft of your identity may help you prove that you are a victim. For example, you may be able to show that the signature on an application is not yours. These documents also may contain information about the identity thief that is valuable to law enforcement. By law, companies must give you a copy of the application or other business transaction records relating to your identity theft if you submit your request in writing. Be sure to ask the company representative where you should mail your request. Companies must provide these records at no charge to you within 30 days of receipt of your request and your supporting documents. You also may give permission to any law enforcement agency to get these records, or ask in your written request that a copy of these records be sent to a particular law enforcement officer.
The company can ask you for:
Should I apply for a new Social Security number?
Under certain circumstances, the Social Security Administration may issue you a new Social Security number - at your request - if, after trying to resolve the problems brought on by identity theft, you continue to experience problems. Consider this option carefully. A new Social Security number may not resolve your identity theft problems, and may actually create new problems. For example, a new Social Security number does not necessarily ensure a new credit record because credit bureaus may combine the credit records from your old Social Security number with those from your new Social Security number. Even when the old credit information is not associated with your new Social Security number, the absence of any credit history under your new Social Security number may make it more difficult for you to get credit. And finally, there's no guarantee that a new Social Security number wouldn't also be misused by an identity thief.
Discount Legal Plans
| Identity Theft Program
| Niche Legal Plans
| For Members
| Become a Distributor
| Become a Plan Attorney
| Contact Us