An Identity Theft Report, or Identity Theft Affidavit, is an individual’s official statement reporting fraud and/or identity theft to law enforcement. It’s generally all you need to get your complaint on record and the ball rolling toward a solution.
“In most cases, you can use your Identity Theft Report in place of a police report to clear your account and credit records of transactions that resulted from the identity theft,” the Federal Trade Commission advised consumers in April 2017. “That’s because when you use IdentityTheft.gov, you’re reporting the crime to the Federal Trade Commission, a federal law enforcement agency.” So an Identity Theft Report carries some weight.
Fortunately, filing an Identity Theft Report is pretty simple. All you have to do is go to the government’s identity theft website and follow the prompts. You will be asked what type of fraud you’re dealing with and guided through the steps, forms to file, etc.
Here’s how to file an Identity Theft Report:
- Visit IdentityTheft.gov and select “Get Started.”
- Select the statement that best describes your situation from the list provided. The options are as follows:
- “I want to report identity theft.”
- “Someone else filed a tax return using my information.”
- “Someone has my information or tried to use it, and I’m worried about identity theft.”
- “My information was exposed in a data breach.”
- “Something else.”
- Refine your selection. You may have to choose from a list of affected accounts, types of exposed information or data breaches to help the FTC lead you to the best solution.
- Answer specific questions. There will be six sections: The Theft, Your Information, Suspect Information, Additional Information and Personal Statement.
- Sign and submit your Identity Theft Report. This last page will look like the following:
There’s more you can do to ensure this process is smooth and successful, however. Check out the tips below to learn more.
Identity Theft Reporting Tips
Filing an Identity Theft Report won’t take long. The FTC affidavit is designed to take , for example. But given the seriousness of the issue at hand, it’s worth being careful. So make sure to consider the following tips:
- Freeze Your Files: Placing a security freeze on your three major credit reports will help prevent fraudsters from opening any new accounts in your name, allowing you to focus on the existing fraud without worrying about new problems. This is the most efficient first step you can take, considering that it takes a matter of minutes to request a freeze, and most states waive the $3 to $15 fee if you are a victim of fraud and/or identity theft.
You can learn more in our Credit Freeze Guide.
- Build A Paper Trail: The more evidence you can provide to support your case, the better. For example, your monthly credit card statements could help to either establish a record of on-time payments or highlight suspicious activity that you could cross-reference against legitimate transactions made around the same time. Even work and travel records could come in handy.
- Be Honest: Lying to law enforcement is a crime. So is sending a false Identity Theft Report across state lines to a creditor or credit bureau. It’s considered mail fraud. And if your intention is to remove accurate negative information from your credit report to secure a better loan rate, you’d be committing bank fraud.So don’t get any wild ideas about abusing identity theft protocol for personal gain. Not only could it cost you your freedom, but you never know when you’ll need to report a legitimate problem.
Finally, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t stop here. Submitting your Identity Theft Report is only one important step out of several moves you should make if you think you’re a victim of identity theft.