How the new FTC Identity Theft Report works…or not
Identity theft is still one of the fastest growing problems in America. It’s not showing any signs of slowing down. As an identity theft attorney, I can tell you that most identity theft that we see happens with one family member stealing the identity of another family member. Shocking huh? Here’s the problem: Family members are reticent to file a criminal complaint against another, even if junior stole dad’s identity and bought a new car with it. Until recently, fixing credit reports due to identity theft all started with the same singular document; a police report. In our scenario, Dad might have another way of getting his credit report cleaned up without a police report. He might be able to use the new FTC Identity Theft Report. But, lets see.
The FTC used a form affidavit that you could fill out and sent out to the credit reporting agencies, asking them to fix your credit report. The credit reporting agencies generally would not act in response to the consumer’s affidavit. When faced with a claim that an item on your credit report was procured by ID theft, they demanded to see a police report.
Recently, the FTC has unveiled its new ID Theft Report and action plan. You can find it at IdentityTheft.gov. With this new report, you fill in information about yourself, your identity theft and some other details and you finalize it under penalty of perjury. The form states “Use this form to prove to business and credit bureaus that you have submitted an identity theft report to law enforcement. Some businesses might request that you also file a report with your local police.”
Here is why the FTC Identity Theft Report is still not the right solution for you
- That last line in the ID Theft Report is a problem. If you send in a dispute letter to Experian, Equifax or Trans Union using just the ID Theft Report, they may or may not act on your dispute. They may still require you to obtain a police report. That may put you several days, if not weeks further behind in getting your credit report fixed. You may just as well go to your local police department with a copy of your credit report and file your complaint. When we fix credit reports due to identity theft, we always use a police report as support for our dispute letters to the credit reporting agencies. This way, they see that our clients have documented their identity theft and went as far as to file a police report.
- If your dispute is rejected by the credit reporting agencies, what do you do next? The FTC gives you no help or advice as to what to do next. We know that when the credit bureaus refuse to clean up your credit, that your only option is to either live with the bogus information on your credit report which is probably dragging your credit score down, or you must file a lawsuit to get your credit report cleaned up. Take heart, we use the Fair Credit Reporting Act which makes the credit reporting agencies and the lenders pay our fees and costs. A credit clean lawsuit costs you nothing. We can file that lawsuit for you and get your credit cleaned up.
The FTC’s efforts are laudable and valiant, but frankly, do not go far enough to the help you. We can help you all the way from discovery of your identity theft through cleaning up your credit and we do it for free because we make the credit bureaus and lenders pay us.
If you are a victim of identity theft, contact Attorney Gary Nitzkin at Credit Repair Lawyers of America, toll free at (888) 293-2882. The call is free and the advice is priceless. You can also email us at mailto:[email protected].