The Effects Of Identity Theft On Your Credit Score
The Office for Victims of Crime , Federal Trade Commission , and United States Department of Justice emphasize the rights of identity theft victims. As a victim, you arent liable for the consequences of the thieves wrongdoings.
Lets say a crook opens several credit cards under your name. After youve filed a report, collectors must stop calling because you dont have to pay off the debts on fraudulent accounts.
The same rule applies to criminal records. Local authorities cant detain or penalize you if an identity thief pretends to be you while under investigation.
In most cases, identity theft affects your credit score the worst. Depending on what the identity thief does, your credit score could tank by over 100 points.
If you take immediate action, the FTC states that youll resolve most issues within one to six months. However, we think this timeline is inaccurate and misleading.
Warning: Credit repair can take more than six months. We read stories about victims who failed to take immediate actionfurther compromising their PII.
Because of their delays, they still struggle to find a place to rent, take out loans, apply for insurance, or land a job even after several years.
With that said, file a report when you notice signs of identity theft.
Immediate Steps To Take
- File a report with the police/sheriff in the jurisdiction in which you live and get a copy of the report for the credit reporting agencies, banks and credit card companies. You can file the report at the police station or file online.
- In Denver, you can file at www.denvergov.org/policereport.
- You can also complete the ID Theft Affidavit provided by the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
- Consider placing a Security Freeze or Fraud Alert on/in your credit reports. See below.
What Is Identity Theft
Identity theft is when someone uses your personal informationâsuch as your name, address, banking details, social security number, credit card number, etc.âwithout your permission, to perform criminal or fraudulent activities.
Hackers can open accounts in your name, commit loan fraud, steal medical benefits , access your retirement accounts, and inflict severe financial damage. Identity thieves can hurt your credit score and ruin an otherwise reputable credit history.
ID theft can happen in many ways. Someone might find documents with your personally identifying information. They may also steal sensitive data from your devices when you’re web browsing on a publicly shared Wi-Fi network. Spam emails, phishing attacks, texting scams, holiday shopping scams and unemployment fraud are other common ways identity theft can occur.
You could also fall victim to identity theft by way of phone scams, mail theft, card skimming or carding, malware, ransomware, spyware, trojan viruses, social media phishing, and most notoriously – large corporate data breaches, which are becoming increasingly common. Over 1,000 data breaches have already been reported in 2021, which is an 17% increase compared to 2020.
The list below represents a summary of common warning signs of identity theft.
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What If It Isnt Approved
Unfortunately, not every claim will be approved. If your claim is denied, well let you know why. Some common reasons we deny claims are:
- The item is not covered by your policy
- You sent us incorrect details
- The claim amount is lower than your deductible
- The incident took place before your policy start date
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If Your Driver’s License Or Dmv
Immediately contact your local DMV office to report the theft. Ask them to put a fraud alert on your license. Then call the toll-free DMV Fraud Hotline at 1-866-658-5758. If the thief is using your license as ID, you may want to change your license number. Ask DMV for an appointment. Take a copy of the police report and copies of bills or other items supporting your claim of fraud. You will also need to prove your identity. Take current documents such as a passport, a certification of citizenship or naturalization, or a U.S. military photo ID. DMV will issue a new license or ID card number when you meet all the requirements.
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What Are The Signs Of An Id
Identity theft scams are becoming more and more common. Identity thieves may use your personal information to open credit cards, take out loans, file for government benefits, or steal your identity altogether.
Some of the warning signs that can help you identify if you are at risk include:
Being contacted by a company or individual you dont know
Receiving a letter or email from a company claiming they have been sending you bills
Receiving an email from an unknown person who claims they have been hacked and need your help
Receiving an email with Urgent in the subject line
Receiving an email with attachments that require downloading
Identity theft is a crime that can happen to anyone. It can happen through a variety of methods and its important to be aware of the warning signs so you can take action before its too late.
Was Your Identity Stolen Here’s How To File A Police Report
If your personal information has been compromised, you may need to file a police report for identity theft.
The sooner you report identity theft, the faster you can prevent further damage to your financial reputation.
However, victims of identity theft are often surprised to hear that filing a police report is only required in certain situations.
Filing an Identity Theft Report with the Federal Trade Commission should be your top priority.
In this guide, you’ll learn when you should file a police report if your identity was stolen.
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Do You Know How To Report Identity Theft
Your first reaction upon realizing that youre a victim of identity theft might be shock and anger, but you dont have a lot of time to spend on the emotional impact of the ordeal. The longer a thief uses your identity, the harder it may become to repair the damage. Reacting quickly and decisively to identity theft is the first important step toward putting it behind you. Here are a few of the first steps you should take.
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When Do I Need To Report Identity Theft To The Police
There are many different forms of fraud and identity theft, and some warrant a police report more than others. Local law enforcement may be somewhat limited when investigating an internet crime or large data breach, and a police report may not be required for certain types of identity-related crimes. You should file a police report in the following situations:
- You know who committed the identity theft.
- You can provide specific information that may be able to help the police investigation.
- Your identity was used fraudulently in an encounter with the police.
- A creditor or other entity requires a police report as part of their investigation.
While not always required, filing a police report can potentially help the authorities catch and stop the person or group committing the crimes. Additionally, some creditors or companies may require you to obtain a police report in order to help you fix the damage.
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Consider Id Theft Protection
It is a long process to recover from identity theft. However, once you know where to start and the steps you need to take, hopefully it feels a little less daunting. Most importantly, you dont want it to happen again. Consider an identity theft protection service to put measures in place that make it more difficult for thieves to access your information and misuse it.
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Top Identity Theft Protection Services
Identity theft protection companies can help you monitor police records, bank statements, credit reports, and dark web listings for unauthorized transactions under your name. Some of the best service providers include:
It offers a one-stop-shop solution to credit monitoring and identity theft protection. Not only does it scan online and offline records for your PII, but it also provides various services like VPNs, antivirus software programs, and password managers. Its cheapest costs $12 a month and comes with $1 million worth of insurance.
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Write To The Credit Bureaus
Write a letter to each credit bureau. Repeat what you said in your telephone call . Send copies of your police report and completed ID Theft Affidavit. Remind the credit bureaus that they must block or remove any information that you, as an identity theft victim, say is a result of the theft. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep a copy of each letter. See the Sample Letter to Credit Bureaus on page 7.
P.O. Box 2000Chester, PA 19016
Before You Report A Crime Online
Before choosing to report a crime online, please note that an incident cannot be reported online if:
- The crime occurred outside of York Region. If the crime occurred outside of York Region, please contact the areas local police service.
- Threats or violence occurred.
- The crime is rooted in hate or bias, or related to domestic violence.
- You know the suspect, have information related to a vehicle involved in the crime, or evidence is left behind.
Before reporting online, please also confirm you have a valid email address and have turned off any pop-up blocking settings, plugins or software.
Filing a false police report is a crime.
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How To File A Police Report In Fulton County On Your Own
Before attempting to file a police report online, be certain that it is one of the crimes they will accept online reporting for.
Remember, there are no victimless crimes. No crime is too small to report.
What Happens After A Police Report Is Filed
A report is evaluated by the police before they pass it on to the prosecutor. After review by the police it can be held by the police to see if this is a reoccurring problem or it can be sent to the prosecutors office. They then decide to file it with the court or to reject the case. * This will flag comments for moderators to take action.
There is no fee to file a report, however, once a police report is filed, there is a fee in most counties to get a copy which typically takes a few weeks. What If a False Police Report is Filed? In the U.S. filing a false police report is considered a crime. The criminal statues differ from state to state.
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Am I On The Hook For The Money
Per the Fair Credit Billing Act, most credit card companies have protections for those affected by identity theft, like zero-liability policies. The law also sets the maximum liability for unauthorized charges at $50.
Fraudulent ATM, debit cards and electronic transfers are protected under the Electronic Transfer Fund Act. However, its important to act fast to avoid charges. If you report your debit or ATM card as lost or stolen before anyone uses it, youre off the hook for any fraudulent charges. Otherwise, if you report your card as lost or stolen within two days of learning of the loss or theft, your maximum liability for any unauthorized charges will be $50. If you report the card as lost or stolen between two days after learning of the loss or theft, but less than 60 days after your statement is sent to you, your liability is $500. If you report a card lost or stolen more than 60 days after your statement is sent to you, your liability is unlimited.
If you are a victim of identity theft, consider keeping a security freeze or fraud alert on your credit reports while you work to undo any damage. Being vigilant against signs of identity theft and catching the theft or fraud early can help keep the damages to a minimum.
What To Do If You Are A Victim
Identity theft is a serious crime that can significantly and negatively affect your ability to obtain credit, get a job, or obtain medical care, just to name a few. Recovering from tax identity theft is not easy, but it can be done through a combination of quick action and careful follow-up. The Internal Revenue Service and Federal Trade Commission recommend the following step-by-step process for addressing tax identity fraud.
- a copy of the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit
- any other proof of the theft
- a government-issued photo ID
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Signs That You May Be A Victim Of Identity Theft
Any time your finances or an account seem off, there’s a chance that it is due to identity theft. This is especially true if you notice money missing or a transaction on your accounts or cards that you did not make.
Five signs to look out for to immediately respond to identity theft include:
- Checking bank statements
- Monitoring your credit card transactions and credit report
- Getting bills in the mail for services you did not purchase
- Debt collectors contact you for repayment on unauthorized transactions
- Being denied tax filing due to taxes already being filed under your name
When To File With The Police
Even though the FTC, as a federal agency, supersedes local law enforcement, there are instances when filing a police report for identity theft is necessary, such as:
- You know, or, at least, suspect the person who committed the crime. This could be a roommate, family member, anyone who had access to your personal information right before the fraud was committed. Your local police might very well want to investigate that person.
- You have information that could help a local police investigation. For example: if someone used your name and address and then filed for a change of address with your post office a standard scam for diverting mail. This would help pinpoint the suspects location.
- Your identity was used during a crime. If a fraudster shows your ID during a traffic stop or an arrest, you may have a police record in your name. Filing a police report can help protect you from unjust penalties and warrants.
- Your financial institution requires a police report for an identity theft investigation. Some banks, credit card companies, and debt collectors want an official police report on file as they resolve disputes.
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Reporting To Government Agencies
If your identity is stolen, you may need to request new or updated documentation with different government agencies.
If you believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your personal information, use our secure fraud reporting form to alert us or call the DUA customer service department at .
- Registry of Motor Vehicles Request a new license if yours was lost or stolen
- Social Security Administration: Request a replacement card if your Social Security card was lost or stolen. Under certain circumstances you might need to request a new Social Security number.
- United States Postal Inspection Service: Notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service if you think an identity thief has filed a change of address with the post office. Contact your local postmaster to make sure that all mail in your name comes to your address.
- The State Departments Bureau of Consular Affairs: If your passport was stolen, complete this online form to report the loss or theft and replace your passport.