Why Should You File A Police Report After Identity Theft
Does it serve a purpose if you dont know how to find the thief?
Filing a police report as soon as you discover your identity has been stolen has several benefits for your overall case.
With almost 1.4 million reported cases of identity theft in 2020, this particular menace doesnt seem to be slowing down any time soon. Identity theft typically involves a thief using your personal information to obtain certain benefits.
There are different types of identity theft, so there are different kinds of benefits such thieves could enjoy, whether its medical benefits, government benefits, or even personal gain through , allowing the thief to take money directly from the victims financial accounts. Worse still, the thief could open additional unauthorized lines of credit in the victims name.
If you think youve fallen victim to identity theft, there are a number of steps you should take, and filing a police report is one of them. This might seem extreme, but it isnt. Heres why.
Reporting To Creditors And Credit Agencies
Make a list of all the creditors and other financial institutions where you do business, such as credit card companies, banks, and phone and internet companies. Report to each of these companies that you are the victim of identity theft and ask each company to place a fraud alert on your account. You should close accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Will The Police Investigate And Locate The Identity Thief
There is an expectation that the police will investigate and prosecute identity thieves. However in all reality, these types of issues are rarely investigated by the police. The report is filed and documented – and then no further action is taken. This most likely do to a variety of issues. First, is that the actual identity thief is not located within their geographic area. Second, many police departments lack the budget and manpower to pursue such claims. However a lack of police investigation does not negate how effective a police report operates in a or fraud affidavit. Do not let the lack of a police investigation or prosecution dissuade you from getting that police report filed.
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Consider A Credit Freeze
The strongest protection against new accounts being opened in your name is a credit freeze, also called a security freeze. A freeze means that your file cannot be shared with potential creditors, insurers, employers, or residential landlords without your permission. For more information, see our CIS 10: How to Freeze Your Credit Files.
How Do I Check To See If Someone Is Using My Social Security Number
To see if your Social Security number is being used by someone else for employment purposes, review your Social Security Statement at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount to look for suspicious activity. Finally, youll want to use additional scrutiny by regularly checking your bank and credit card accounts online.
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Notify The Company Involved
Contact the business or lender with whom the fraudulent transaction took place. Close the account in question, whether its one youve had for a while or one that the thief opened in your name. Make sure creditors mark the account as closed upon your request a notation that your credit card was lost or stolen can have a negative effect on your credit report.
There may be more than one transaction involved, and you might encounter some resistance, especially from smaller businesses that dont fully understand your dilemma. Insist on receiving copies of all paperwork involved in the transactions anyway.
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Sample Letter To Creditor On Existing Account
City, State, Zip Code
Dear Sir or Madam:
I am writing to dispute a fraudulent attributed to my account in the amount of $_____. I am a victim of identity theft, and I did not make this . I am requesting that the , that any finance and other charges related to the fraudulent amount be credited as well, and that I receive an accurate statement.
Enclosed are copies of supporting my position. Please investigate this matter and correct the fraudulent as soon as possible.
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Contact The Social Security Administration
The thief may have used your Social Security number to apply for government benefits or take out credit in your name. Notify the Social Security Administration as soon as possible, even if youre not sure whether your number has been compromised. You can call their Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271.
Would you like to see your credit score now? YES, SHOW ME MY CREDIT SCORE
Alt Text: A policeman in full uniform turns his head
When someone steals your identity, they can destroy your credit, take money from your bank, make unnecessary purchases, and register for unknown accounts. With the potential to create both long and short-term financial damage, its essential to report suspected identity theft to the police before it escalates.
According to the Federal Trade Commission , there are some cases where you dont have to report the identity theft to the authorities. At Identity Insured, we understand that identity theft can be stressful. Fortunately, we can provide you with the right guidance to get you on the right track.
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
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When Should You File A Police Report For Identity Theft
If you attempt to file a police report for identity theft, most police officers will ask for a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report. So, follow the steps outlined above before going to your local police department.
As mentioned above, itâs not always necessary to file a police report for identity theft when you make an official report to the FTC.
Here are some instances when should report identity theft to the police:
- âYou know the person who committed the crime. If you know that a roommate, family member, friend, etc. had access to your information right before something showed up on your credit report or accounts, the police may investigate that person.
- âYou have information that could aid a police investigationinto the theftâ if someone used your name and address and then filed for a change of address in your area, this may pinpoint a potential suspect.
- âYour identity was used during a police interaction or crime. If a person stole your identity and used your name and address during a traffic stop or an arrest, you may have police records in your name even though you didnât commit the crime. Filing a police report protects you from any unwarranted penalties.
- âYour financial institutions require a police report for identity theft. Some banking institutions, credit unions, and debt collectors will need to keep an official police report on file for their records as they resolve disputes.
Online Crime Reporting System
The Online Crime Reporting System is designed to make it easier and more convenient to file a police report without leaving home however, not every crime can be reported using this system.
In the event of an emergency, if a crime is in progress or someone is hurt or threatened, 911 should be called or texted immediately.
The following incidents can be reported on the Online Crime Reporting System:
|Property Damage- Accidental|
Users who can answer “yes” to any of the questions below may call 216.621.1234 to file a report or visit the FAQ’s for more information.
- Did the crime or incident occur outside Cleveland City limits?
- Was someone injured as a result of this crime or incident?
- Is there information about the person, even if vague, who might have committed the crime ?
- Is the license plate number known for the vehicle the suspect was or may be in?
- Did the crime involve the use or threat of a weapon ?
- Did the crime involve drugs in any way?
- Are there serial numbers for stolen items?
- Was there house or garage break-in?
- Was this a motor vehicle accident?
Filing a false police report is a crime. Users must be 18 or older to use the Online Crime Reporting System. Prior to beginning the online filing, user should have a valid email address, pop-up blocking software should be turned off, and all the information related to the incident should be available.
Reports can be filed here
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Tips When Filing A Police Report
With luck, filing a police report will go smoothly. You can then concentrate on taking steps to recover from identity theft.
But some police departments may not be fully prepared to take your report. For instance, officers may be preoccupied with other crimes or unfamiliar with how to handle identity theft cases.
Here are some tips that can help.
- Be firm, but calm when seeking to file a police report.
- Try to remain flexible. The police may send you to a website to fill out a form, instead of taking your information in person.
- Contact your state attorney generals office if the police are unable or unwilling to take your report. States may have different processes for filing a report. An attorney generals office or website may be able to provide the details.
- Be specific. When you make a police report, give detailed information about the identity theft, such as dates accounts were opened in your name or who might have committed the fraud.
- Make copies of your identity theft police report and your FTC complaint. Youll need these to resolve any disputes with companies where the identity thief used your name.
Bottom line: Reporting identity theft to the police or the FTC is a smart step to take. It could save time and money as you recover from identity theft.
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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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Was Your Identity Stolen Remain Calm And Follow These Steps 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.
Before You File A Police Report Online
Filing a false police report is a crime.
Before filing a police report online you must verify you meet the criteria listed below:
- Incident happened in Unincorporated Hillsborough County
- These city limits are NOT unincorporated Hillsborough County:
- Plant City
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Report The Fraud To The Three Major Credit Bureaus
You can report the identity theft to all three of the major credit bureaus by calling any one of the toll-free fraud numbers below. You will reach an automated telephone system and you will not be able to speak to anyone at this time. The system will ask you to enter your Social Security number and other information to identify yourself. The automated system allows you to flag your file with a fraud alert at all three bureaus. This helps stop a thief from opening new accounts in your name. The alert stays on for 90 days. Each of the credit bureaus will send you a letter confirming your fraud alert and giving instructions on how to get a copy of your credit report. As a victim of identity theft, you will not be charged for these reports. Each report you receive will contain a telephone number you can call to speak to someone in the credit bureaus fraud department.
Can I Get Money Back After Being Scammed
Contact your bank immediately to let them know whats happened and ask if you can get a refund. Most banks should reimburse you if youve transferred money to someone because of a scam. If you cant get your money back and you think this is unfair, you should follow the banks official complaints process.
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How To File An Identity Theft Report On Identitytheftgov
Head over to IdentityTheft.gov and choose the prompt that best describes your situation.
Continue to click the appropriate responses, and the online wizard will automatically fill out your Identity Theft Affidavit .
Filing A Police Report Online
This system allows you to submit a report from your computer or mobile device without going to an OPP detachment. All submissions will be sent directly to the OPP and reviewed by an officer. You may be contacted to provide more information. You must have a valid e-mail address in order to submit a report.
To file a report online, please follow the simple steps 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, sign up for loans, 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.
Identity 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, 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.
Ways To File A Police Report:
1) If the incident occurred within the City of Pittsburgh, you must call from within the City of Pittsburgh limits for an officer to be dispatched to you. When you call, you may be routed to a civilian member of the Telephone Reporting Unit who will assist you.
2) You can visit any City of Pittsburgh police station and file a report in person. All City of Pittsburgh police stations are open 24/7, even on holidays. Bring your ID to confirm your identity. Depending on the incident, providing additional information like pictures, video, or documents is helpful. If you are not sure what documents are needed to file a report, call ahead. You can find the list of police zones, addresses, and phone numbers here.
Note: Filing a police report with the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police cannot be done online.
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Why Do I Need A Police Report
Many people wonder if they actually need to get a police report when identity theft has occurred. The answer is YES, you really do need the report! Getting a police report plays several important roles in combatting the identity theft. First, it documents the theft and provides crucial evidence for disputing incorrect information on your credit report, or for completing a fraud affidavit. It also shows the creditor/debt collector that you are not making a bogus or fake dispute about a valid debt because victims of identity theft never shy away from notifying the police about these issues.
When Should I Call Police Instead
- If you have a known suspect. If you know the name or address of the suspect, or if you know the license plate of the vehicle associated to the suspect, please contact Peel Regional Police at 905-453-3311
- If the value of theft, loss or property damage is more than $10,000.00
- If your vehicle has been stolen
- If the incident occurred outside of Brampton or Mississauga. Please contact the police service responsible for the area in which the incident occurred
- If someone broke into, or attempted to break into your home, garage or business
- If this is the theft or loss of a firearm
- If this is related to any form of personal violence, including domestic violence.
- If this is related to any kind of vandalism or graffiti that could be hate motivated
- If this is related to a traffic complaint that is in progress
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