If You Need to Report Identity Theft Then Do It Right

By: Joseph Farinaccio

Many police departments don't want to deal with identity theft. So one of the first things you're faced with as a victim of fraud is, "How should I report identity theft to police.?"

It's not that the police want to turn a blind eye to crime. But identity theft isn't like the physical crimes most law enforcement officers are used to dealing with. Most evidence of ID Theft activity happens in the realm of electronic databases and paper transactions.

ID Theft investigations typically take a good bit of time and man-hours. Local police can't possibly investigate most crimes that stem from identity theft -- there just isn't enough money or resources.

If your local police resist the idea of filling out an official police report then politely insist. One reason the police may resist filling out a report is because they think you expect them to exert a lot of time and effort investigating the crime.

That, of course, is unlikely to happen.

Explain to the police that having a report for "informational purposes" is vital to clearing your credit profile ... and legally protecting yourself from any crimes committed in your name by the identity thief. Also tell them that credit reporting agencies and credit grantors expect to see a police report in order to clear a profile affected by identity fraud. Prospective employers and future credit issuers also need to understand that you're the victim of a genuine, serious crime.

If the police official tells you a credit grantor must report the crime before police can file a report then politely inform them this isn't the case. Have a copy of Federal Law Code 18 USC 1028a to show them -- this is the "Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act"." This law makes identity theft against a consumer a "federal offence." Identity theft is a felony under applicable state laws too.

Explain you need a police report first in order for a credit grantor to understand you're the victim of identity theft, which is both a Federal and State crime. You can also explain that many creditor grantors don't bother reporting identity theft because it happens so often they write it off as a cost of doing business.

As the victim of identity theft, credit issuers are going to expect you to prove that any accounts you dispute (because they're fraudulent) weren't really opened by you in the first place. These are the basic reasons why a police report is needed. If you're persistent then you should be able to find a police official who sympathizes with your dilemma.

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