Identity Theft Victim’s Rights
Are you a victim of ID theft? If you are, then you know that you are guilty until proven innocent. Every case of ID theft is different and, at times, everyone questions your honesty and integrity.
In some cases, all it takes is a few phone calls, a police report and a fraud alert. But in some cases, the victims of ID theft get arrested for the crimes they have not committed; sued for the debts they had nothing to do with; etc.
Sometimes it only takes a few hours to resolve the issues, but in some cases the problems go on for many years. One problem gets resolved, then, something else comes up. And it seems like it is a never-ending cycle.
Although there are laws and regulations for the protection and the benefit of an ID theft victim, it does not mean that you are automatically cleared. Businesses and Financial institutions want to recover their losses, which at times occur because of their own negligence, and they do not care whom they recover it from. One of the banks at one point said to me without even blinking that I should pay them and then, when the ID thief is found, sue him/her. Excuse me?
If you are a victim of ID theft, besides filing the police report, ID theft affidavit, placing a fraud alert, getting a credit report, you have other rights when dealing with businesses and financial institutions.
- You have the right to obtain documents used for fraudulent transactions or accounts opened using your personal information pursuant to Section 609(e) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (15 U.S.C. § 1681(g)). FTC created a form letter (Request documents) that you can use to request those records. Now a little disclaimer: some businesses and financial institutions may refuse to provide you with those documents if there are reasons to believe that it is a frivolous request (and they always have reasons).
- You have the right to block fraudulent information resulted from ID theft from being reported on your credit file. When you contact a consumer-reporting agency and instruct them to block certain information from being reported, you have to provide the agency with a proof of your identity and a copy of your identity theft report. Once this information is blocked, a business cannot transfer, sell or place that debt for collections. However, the agency may refuse your request for a block if it deems to be a “material misrepresentation of facts”. Unfortunately, it happens way too often. It all goes back to the relationship that the agencies have with the businesses.
- You have the right to prevent businesses (banks, collection agencies, hospitals, etc.) from reporting fraudulent information to the consumer reporting agencies. In this case, you have to write a letter to the business specifying the information you do not want reported and send it along with a copy of your identity theft report and any other supporting documentation you may have.
If you are a victim of ID theft and your case does not seem to go away, speak to an attorney, but make sure that attorney has experience dealing with ID theft cases.