New Identity Theft Website Streamlines Complaint and Reporting Process
If you've been a victim of identity theft you understand how much of a nightmare it is getting everything straightened out.
A revamped federal website is now a one-stop shop to help victims file a complaint and get a personalized recovery guide that should help streamline and simplify the process. The new Identitytheft.gov offers easy-to-use tools that enable victims to create the documents they need to file police reports, and alert banks, credit bureaus, and the IRS.
Even as the world goes to seemingly more secure digital options, identity theft is on the rise. In 2015 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received more than 490,000 consumer complaints, a 47 percent increase over the previous year. The Department of Justice estimates that 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014.
The website walks consumers through a simplified step-by-step checklist that is tailored to the specific type of identity theft they are facing. The advice consumers receive is not generic, but instead customized for their individual needs.
The site automatically generates affidavits and pre-fill letters and forms to be sent to credit bureaus, businesses, police, debt collectors and the IRS. Should a consumer's recovery run into issues, the site will suggest alternative approaches. Once a consumer completes their initial report on the site, they will receive follow up e-mails and can return to their personalized plan online to continue the recovery process.
IdentityTheft.gov is also available in Spanish at RobodeIdentidad.gov, and allows Spanish-speaking consumers to view the automatically generated letters and other documents in Spanish, but print them in English for sending to the relevant recipients.
For more information visit Identitytheft.gov.
Children and Identity Theft
Despite not necessarily having credit to steal, children are often victims of identity theft. Kids are easy targets because parents might not realize there is a problem until their child is older and applying for student loans or their first credit card.
North Carolina parents can now ask for a credit freeze on their child's credit up until they turn 16. This will prevent thieves from opening new lines of credit in his or her name. The service is not necessarily free, but it is available.