Do You Have To File A Police Report For Identity Theft?
How to File a Police Report for Identity Theft
It is important to file a police report if your personal information was stolen to have a paper trail defending you. The first thing you need to do is get a copy of your Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, Identity Theft Report. The FTC recommends victims of theft to file a report on Identitytheft.gov and provide a copy of your report when filing at the police station. You need the FTC report as another way to document the theft. It will help you establish to the police that you are taking the right steps to resolve the problem. Your FTC report is an official statement detailing the crime.
Once you complete your FTC report, you can take it with you to file your police report. When going to file the report bring a photo ID with you. The police will need to verify your identity with a valid driver’s license, passport, or birth certificate. The police will also ask you for proof of address with a mortgage statement, rental agreement, or utility bill.
You will also need to prove to the police that your identity has been stolen. Provide information as to how you realize your identity was stolen. Gather all relevant documents such as credit card statements, IRS notices, collections notices, or communications that lead you to believe you were a victim of identity theft. Some common ways people realize their identity was stolen are as follows:
- There were charges on your credit card that are invalid or purchases you did not make listed
- The IRS informed you of a tax refund that you did not receive
- You got billed for medical treatments that were not yours
- Your bank account is missing money, or debt collectors have contact you but you have no debt
Once you have filed your report, ask the police for a copy of the report. You will need the report for your records as well as to give to any creditors to help you return to normalcy after being a victim of identity theft.
Why should I file a police report
Filing a police report helps protect you as you move forward in your recovery from identity theft. Your police report helps to prove your innocence and also starts a police investigation into who is stealing your identity.
A police report proves that you were not responsible for any crimes committed while the thief uses your name. This will be especially helpful if the thief is arrested at any point while using your identity. If you are blamed for their crimes, you can show a copy of your police report to prove your innocence.
What happens after I file my police report
After you file your police report, the police will begin an investigation into the identity theft. They will hopefully be able to catch who stole your identity. When you are filing your report, the officer you are working with might give you forms to request account information from credit grantors, utilities, or cell phone companies. These forms will be useful to send to creditors where new accounts were applied for. Write to the creditors and send them the forms and copy of the police report. Once you hear back from the creditor, you can update the officer investigating your case if the creditors have any further information.
As the police are investigating the crime, they may need more information for you as the case continues. They might need to call you or stop by your house or ask you to come into the police station. The police will also give you a notification booklet which includes your case number, contact number, and other important information regarding services for victims. Keep your notification booklet and write your incident number down.
Preventing Future Fraud
Here are our tips on being vigilant with your personal information:
1 – Make your online information private
Make sure your computer has good security software. Do not enter any personal information or login to public computers or servers.
2 – Keep up with your accounts
Log into your bank account every day to keep an eye on your balances. Make sure all transactions are yours. Check your credit report once a year to scan for any suspicious behavior.
3 – Shred documents with private information
Do not keep ATM records, deposit slips and checks for long after you check them with your monthly statement. Put them through a shredder to keep thieves from going through your garbage or recycle bins. Sign up for electronic statements to avoid paper altogether.
4 – Be careful about sharing your information
Do not give your personal information out in calls or emails that you cannot verify. Do not put sensitive information on social media and only give your information to trusted sources
5 – Act quickly
If you do notice anything suspicious, report it straight away. The faster you act the greater the potential is to recover lost assets in identity theft cases.
What to Do If You’re Already a Victim of Fraud or ID theft
If you are a victim of fraud or theft, you need to act quickly in order to make a full recovery. If you have identity theft insurance, file a claim of identity theft immediately. You also need to notify your credit card company and all other companies in which fraudulent transactions have occurred. If someone is impersonating you, make sure to call your health insurance company to ensure they are not getting medical care under your policy.
To protect yourself further, freeze your credit as soon as you can. This will cut off the thief’s access to your credit report. You can freeze your credit for free and you can lift the freeze at any time. Review your report and take note of all suspicious activity.
Make sure all of your accounts are secure. Change your passwords and use different passwords for all of your accounts. Make sure you are not carrying personal information, such as your social security number, in your wallet. When logging into your accounts enable two-factor authentication to make it more difficult for others to get access.
Resources to Get Help Now
The Federal Trade Commission website is the most comprehensive resource when needing support for identity theft. They provide step-by-step directions in order to start your recovery, as well as file complaints, ensure the security of your accounts, and create recovery plans.
Idtheft.gov is another website that gives step-by-step instructions on what victims should do along with sample letters to help them contact the necessary organizations.
You can receive free counseling as an identity theft victim from a nonprofit called Identity Theft Council. You can reach them over the phone to speak to a counselor. Identity Theft Resource Center is another great nonprofit that will give you free advice on what steps to take as a victim of theft. You can call them on the phone or pursue their website for more free resources.