Identity Theft

What to do if someone steals your ID

Identity Theft: Fraudulent Accounts

A Publication of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

4. What to do with new credit accounts opened by the imposter.

If your credit report shows that the imposter has opened new accounts in your name, contact those creditors immediately by telephone and in writing. Recent amendments to the FCRA (623(6)(B)) allow you to prevent businesses from reporting fraudulent accounts to the credit bureaus. The FTC provides a sample dispute letter.

Creditors will likely ask you to fill out fraud affidavits. The FTC provides a uniform affidavit form that most creditors accept, http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf. No law requires affidavits to be notarized at your own expense. You may choose to substitute witness signatures for notarization if creditors require verification of your signature.

Ask the credit grantors in writing to furnish you and your investigating law enforcement agency with copies of the documentation, such as the fraudulent application and transaction records. Both federal and California law give you the right to obtain these documents. (FCRA 609(e), and California Penal Code 530.8). The California Office of Privacy Protection provides instructions and sample letters on how to obtain documentation from credit grantors, www.privacy.ca.gov/cis3aenglish.htm

A victim of identity theft must provide a copy of the FTC affidavit or another affidavit acceptable to the business, plus government-issued identification, and a copy of an "identity theft report" (police report) in order to obtain the documents created by the imposter. The business must provide copies of these records to the victim within 30 days of the victim's request at no charge. The law also allows the victim to authorize a law enforcement investigator to get access to these records.

When you have resolved the fraudulent account with the creditor, ask for a letter stating that the company has closed the disputed account and has discharged the debts. Keep this letter in your files. You may need it if the account reappears on your credit report.

You must also notify the credit bureaus about the fraudulent accounts. Instructions are provided in Section 1.

 

 

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