One of the most important steps after you've been the victim of identity theft is filing a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC uses the Identity Theft Complaint Form to help detect and establish patterns of illegal conduct, which leads to the prosecution of wrongdoers.
Although it does not resolve individual complaints, all complaints are kept in a secure online database called the Consumer Sentinel, which is accessible to thousands of criminal and civil law enforcement authorities. Filing an FTC complaint will also help prove that you are a victim and help local authorities resolve your case.
At the Law Offices of Howard D. Silver, identity theft attorney Howard Silver understands the severity of identity theft and is here to help you get your life and finances back in order. The following is a list of recommended steps to filing a complaint form with the FTC.
Prior to Filing the Affidavit
- Contact the fraud departments of the three major credit bureaus in the U.S. (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) and place a fraud alert to prevent new credit from being opened.
- Close all accounts that have been tampered with or opened due to fraud.
- Collect all information that will be needed for the affidavit including copies of your photo I.D., bank and credit statements that show the fraudulent actions, and contact info on any official you have been in touch with.
Completing the Affidavit
- Include all personal information. This will give the FTC a clear picture of your identity and find any fraud that has occurred under your name.
- For the "At the Time of the Fraud" section, fill in any personal information that was different when the crime occurred. If nothing has changed, leave it blank.
- When making declarations about the fraud, remember that these statements may be used in future legal actions and will help officials to put an end to the fraud.
- For "About the Fraud," consider who may have been behind the theft and fill in any information that you can. Leave unknown information blank.
- Fill out any information on how personal information was stolen and what documents were used during the crime.
- Attach any papers that help to prove the incident, such as bank and credit statements.
- Select one, or both ways that you can verify your identity. Then attach copies of your photo I.D., birth certificate, or rental/lease agreement, whichever is applicable.
- Detail all information that may have been altered by identity thieves.
- Identify any company that has made a credit inquiry due to the theft.
- Give detailed information regarding what fraud has occurred. This includes the institution that was involved, account number, check numbers, account type, date of the fraud, date discovered, and total amount obtained.
- Give contact information for the law enforcement department you filed a report with concerning your theft. This includes the report number, filing date, as well as name and badge number of the officer.
- Sign the document in the presence of a law enforcement officer, notary, or other witnesses.
- Obtain the signature of a notary and a witness to verify your identity. This will help when submitting copies of this form to companies.
There is no set amount of time dictating how long the effects of identity theft may last. According to the FTC, it depends on a number of factors, including whether or not your information was passed on to someone else, if the thief was caught, or if there are complications with your credit report. Identity theft victims should monitor all account activity for the first several months after the theft and then, at least yearly, review their credit reports.
If you would like more information on how to handle filing a complaint with the FTC or want help with any other identity theft issues, call identity theft attorney Howard D. Silver at 855-341-2611 to schedule your free consultation. We proudly help those who live in Los Angeles, Riverside, Ventura And San Bernardino Counties, and other areas in California.