Anyone who’s been a victim of identity theft should know how to prove identity theft so they can stop it and prevent the thief’s actions from harming their credit. When your identity is stolen, it is important that you are able to prove it. Otherwise, people can spend recklessly and just say that it wasn’t them.
There are two tools consumers have for proving identity theft:
- Identity Theft Affidavit
- Identity Theft Report
The Affidavit and Report provide consumers with different rights that allows them to prove identity theft. Once the identity theft is proven, the victims can get the fraudulent activities off their credit report and recover from stolen identity.
Identity Theft Affidavit
What is an Identity Theft Affidavit?
The Identity Theft Affidavit is the main tool that consumers have to prove their innocence to creditors and other organizations where the thief has committed fraud in their names. It is a sworn statement that provides important information.
It is a popular way for victims of identity theft to dispute the fraud committed by the identity thief. Once the Affidavit is used to prove a victim’s innocence, it can be used to correct credit report of the fraudulent activities.
Who accepts Affidavit as part of dispute documentation?
You will need to check with each company to see if they will accept the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Identity Theft Affidavit as part of dispute documentation. If not, they will probably require you to use their own version of the Affidavit.
Where can I obtain the Affidavit form?
You can obtain the Identity Theft Affidavit form by visiting the FTC’s website. Then fill it out by hand or file it online and print it out filled in.
What is included in the Affidavit form?
The Affidavit form should include proof:
- of your identity and
- that you did not commit the frauds claimed in the Affidavit.
To whom should I send in an Affidavit?
You should send the Affidavit to creditors and other entities where the thief has committed fraud in your name.
Identity Theft Report
What is an Identity Theft Report?
The Identity Theft Report is the primary tool consumers have for removing inaccurate information that are related to identity theft from their credit report.
According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), the Identity Theft Report:
- makes a claim of an identity theft
- is a copy of an official, valid report filed by a consumer with an appropriate Federal, State, or local law enforcement agency
- subjects the person filing the report to criminal penalties relating to the filing of false information if, in fact, the information in the report is false.
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How do I create an Identity Theft Report?
A detailed enough report from the police can be accepted as an Identity Theft Report. However, the police report is usually not detailed enough to be considered such a Report. In that case, the FTC’s Identity Theft Affidavit can be used to further support the Report.
When filing a law enforcement report, you should:
- Bring the completed Identity Theft Affidavit
- Have the police verify the Affidavit
- Have the police include the Affidavit to their report.
5 Benefits For Submitting an Identity Theft Report
1. Blocking fraudulent information from appearing on a credit report
- When a person submits an Identity Theft Report to credit reporting agencies (CRAs), the CRA must stop reporting information resulting from the identity theft on the victim’s credit report. They have 4 business days upon accepting the Report to block the information.
2. Preventing a company from refurnishing fraudulent information to a CRA
- The furnisher is prohibited from refurnishing information to a CRA if a CRA informed the furnisher that it has accepted the victim’s Report that states the information the company furnished was caused by identity theft. The same applies if the victim directly files the Report with the furnisher.
3. Preventing a company from selling or placing for collection bad debts that result from identity theft
- The furnisher is prohibited from selling debts reported in the victim’s name that resulted from identity theft to another company for collection once a CRA informs the furnisher that it has accepted the victim’s Report.
4. Placing an Extended Fraud Alert
- Consumers need an Identity Theft Report before placing an extended 7-year fraud alert on their credit reports. A Report with a simple allegation should be sufficient for obtaining an extended fraud alert.
5. Obtaining transaction documents from businesses
- Victims can obtain documents related to the fraudulent transactions resulting from identity theft if they submit: a police report, an FTC Identity Theft Affidavit, and proper proof of identification to the company where the fraudulent transaction occurred.
How to Correct Credit Report Errors
To correct credit report errors, you will need to write a credit dispute letter to the credit reporting agencies. You will need to specify the items you are disputing in your letter and attach any documents that support your claims.
If you have obtained an Identity Theft Affidavit and the Report, you can include them in the enclosures to further support your claims. If you have not written a credit dispute letter before, see a sample letter template of it here.
Once the credit reporting agencies receive your letter, they usually have 30 days to investigate the matter listed in your letter. After the investigation period is over, the errors on your credit report should be corrected, including the fraudulent activities resulting from identity theft (if you have included them in the letter).
When to Seek a Credit Dispute Lawyer
While proving identity theft and correcting the fraudulent activities can be done alone, there are some cases where a credit dispute lawyer’s assistance may be needed. You may need a lawyer’s help if:
- creditors are trying to collect debt that resulted from identity theft
- you are being harassed by debt collectors trying to collect debt that resulted from identity theft
- creditors or CRAs are not cooperating with your dispute
- you are having difficult disputing the credit report errors due to your age, health, language barrier, or economic situation
- your case becomes too complicated or involves a non-financial identity theft issue.
Call (818) 254-8413 if you need an experienced credit dispute lawyer’s help to learn how to prove identity theft. The consultation is free!