In a way, an Identity Theft Report is like a police report that includes extensive details about how the identity thieves used your information. When your identity is stolen, you will give the police and the government information about the crimes committed against you, and they compile this information into your Identity Theft Report. They make the Identity Theft Report so detailed so that the credit reporting companies and businesses can verify that you are a victim and recognize which information and accounts on your credit report are false. Whereas regular police reports don’t go into detail about the accounts identity thieves open or abuse, an Identity Theft Report highlights them.
When you realize that you are a victim of identity theft, you will file an ID Theft Complaint Form with the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC. The police can use a printed copy of this form to furnish their police report with additional information, but they are not legally required to do so, as they may have alternate means to include detailed information about the crime in their own reports. If the police report is detailed enough, it can stand in for the the Identity Theft Report.
How to Create & Use an Identity Theft Report
Step 1: File Your Identity Theft Report
You will file your Identity Theft Report with a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency. These might include your city police department, the State Attorney General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service, the FTC, or even the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. There are some state laws requiring local police departments to make an Identity Theft Report, but no federal agencies are required to take them.
In the Identity Theft Report, you must provide the most information you can. This includes any information on the fraudulent accounts that were opened, the dates of the identity theft, and the alleged identity thief. By filing your ID Theft Complaint Form with the FTC, then furnishing this completed form to the local law enforcement, you can help ensure that the Identity Theft Report is thorough enough. The police officer or other law enforcement agent can either attach your ID Theft Complaint Form to the police report or incorporate the information into their report.
Once the police report is completed, as the officer for a copy of the official Identity Theft Report. Sometimes the officer will not be able to do so, but they can sign a copy of the ID Theft Complaint Form and write the official police report number in the “Law Enforcement Report” section of the ID Theft Complaint Form.
Be aware that there is no legal requirement for the police to use the ID Theft Complaint Form in their report. They may have an alternate way to include details of the identity theft in the Identity Theft Report, and in this case, the police report will serve as the Identity Theft Report.
Since a detailed Identity Theft Report is necessary for you to get certain protections on your credit, you might consider enclosing a cover letter explaining how important it is for your Identity Theft Report to be detailed. Work with the police and give them as much information as possible.
Step 2: Send Out Your Identity Theft Report
Next, you should send your Identity Theft Report to the credit reporting agencies as well as the businesses involved in your identity theft. Be sure to include a cover letter when sending your Identity Theft Report to the three credit reporting agencies, plus any documentation that gives more information on your identity theft. When you send your Identity Theft Report to the fraud departments of the businesses where your identity thief committed fraud with your personal information, also enclose supporting documentation and a cover letter that details whether fraud was committed on an existing account or on a new account opened by the thief. Whether you are sending your Identity Theft Report to the credit reporting companies or a business’ fraud department, send the Identity Theft Report by certified mail and request a return receipt.
If your Identity Theft Report does not have enough detailed information for the companies or credit reporting agencies to determine that you are a victim of identity theft, they will decline your Identity Theft Report. If this happens, they will let you know that your Identity Theft Report needs more information within 15 days of receiving it. The business or credit reporting agency then has 15 additional days to collaborate with you and ensure that your Identity Theft Report contains all the information they need. Once they receive additional documentation and information, they have 5 more days to review it before making a decision.
How You Can Use Your Identity Theft Report
Why should you go through the process of creating and sending an Identity Theft Report? You can use your Identity Theft Report in many ways to protect your credit, including:
Removing fraudulent details from your credit report–and ensuring that they don’t appear again. The credit reporting companies prevent false information from marring your credit report after you file your Identity Theft Report with them. If you properly file your Identity Theft Report with the businesses where the thief used your information as well as the credit reporting companies, it will keep the thieves’ debts from appearing on your credit report now and in the future.
Stop collections on fraudulent debts. The Identity Theft Report can also stop a business from trying to collect debts the identity thieves incurred or selling those debts to collection agencies.
Place an extended fraud alert on your credit report. Submitting your Identity Theft Report will place a fraud alert on your account so that creditors will have to contact you by phone or in person to confirm your identity and that you are applying for credit in your name. This alert will remain on your credit report for 7 years.