VA State Attorney General's Office

VA State Attorney General's Office
Virginia Office of the Attorney General
The Office of the Attorney General would like to thank the sponsors of this Guide
for being partners in the fight against Identity Theft. Together we are helping to protect
Virginians by raising awareness and educating them about this important issue.
If you have any further questions or concerns,
or if you would like additional information, please contact:
Virginia Office of the Attorney General
Victim Notification Program
900 E. Main Street, 2 Floor • Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: 1.800.370.0459 • Fax: 804.786.0991
[email protected] • www.vaag.com
ND
HOW
TO
AVOID IDENTITY THEFT
A GUIDE
FOR
VICTIMS
Office of the Attorney General
Victim Notification Program
900 E. Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
TABLE OF CONTENTS
How to Avoid Identity Theft . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Phishing Schemes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Reducing Access to Your Personal Identifying Information . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Code of Virginia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Identity Theft Protection Act . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
Identity Theft Passport . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Credit Cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Social Security Numbers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Responsible Information Handling . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
A Guide for Victims . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Law Enforcement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Federal and State Identity Theft Laws . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Federal Trade Commission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Credit Bureaus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Creditors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Credit Requirements to Verify Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Stolen Checks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) Cards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Fraudulent Changes of Address, Mail Theft, or Other Mail Involvement . . . 20
Secret Service Jurisdiction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Social Security Number Misuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Income Tax Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Passports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Utilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Driver’s License Number Misuse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
False Civil and Criminal Judgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Credit Report Fraud . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Insurance Coverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Legal Help . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Making Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Don’t Give In . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Instructions for Completing the ID Theft Affidavit . . . . . . 27–29
ID Theft Affidavit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . i-iv
ID Theft Passport Request Victim Information Sheet . . . . . v-vi
1
HOW
TO
AVOID IDENTITY THEFT
Identity theft crimes are on the rise across the nation. Your personal identifying
information can be accessed in a variety of ways. An imposter can misuse your information to open fraudulent credit card accounts, secure deposits on cars and housing,
obtain employment opportunities, create insurance benefits, and rob retirement
earnings. This form of financial sabotage can devastate your credit, and require endless
hours of telephone and written communication to resolve. In the meantime, you may
experience difficulty writing checks, renting apartments, and securing employment.
While following these precautionary steps is not a guarantee of protection, it will
greatly reduce your chances of becoming the next identity theft victim.
The rapid advance in technology in the past fifty years has created an “information revolution” that has affected government, business, commerce, education and
communication. Sadly, in recent years the increased use of computers has also led to
sophisticated opportunities for criminal activity. Hardly a day goes by that the news
media does not report new examples of the use of computers and the Internet to
commit fraud and economic crimes such as identity theft. Thieves and con-artists
often use ordinary means to obtain an individual’s personal information by going
through mailboxes or trash cans for credit card receipts or calling potential victims
pretending to be on official business.
Once they have the stolen information in hand, criminals often employ computers and the Internet to quickly and easily profit from it. A thief can open
accounts or purchase merchandise with a click on the computer; and credit can be
obtained in your name without any face-to-face interaction.
Virginia recognized the need to address this new form of crime and in 1999
established a Computer Crime Unit within the Office of the Attorney General. The
Computer Crime Unit is comprised of specially trained and equipped investigators
and attorneys skilled in computer, communication and Internet technologies in
order to vigorously investigate and prosecute illegal activities conducted over the
Internet. The foremost mission of the Computer Crime Unit is to assist in investigating identity theft cases and to proactively investigate and prosecute most crimes
committed through the use of a computer.
If you need assistance in the investigation and/or prosecution of a computerfacilitated identity theft crime, contact the Office of the Attorney General, Computer
Crime Unit at 804.786.8587, 877.245.5521 or at [email protected]
3
PHISHING SCHEMES
WHAT IS PHISHING?
Phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is a computer scam criminals use to trick
persons using the Internet to disclose vital financial and personal information such
as Social Security Numbers, account numbers and passwords. The following is an
example of a phishing scheme using email:
Flounder goes on the Internet to check his email. Soon he receives an email
purporting to be from his bank. Although it may look authentic, the email is
actually a counterfeit sent by a criminal. Flounder opens the email which states that
his bank’s security has been breached and, to protect him, his bank intends to close
his account immediately unless it can verify his account information. The email
requests that Flounder enter his account number and password to ensure his account
remains open. Flounder takes the bait. He follows the directions in the email, enters
both his account number and the password to his bank account. The criminal has
lured Flounder’s account number and password from him. The criminal now has
the ability to access Flounder’s bank account.
Don’t be like Flounder and take the bait!
information in response to an unsolicited email.
Never disclose your personal
WHAT IS PHARMING?
Pharming (pronounced “farming”) is the latest cyberswindle which threatens to
harvest entire fields of victims. Pharmers redirect Internet users from legitimate
commercial websites to counterfeit web pages in order to trick them to disclose their
vital financial and personal information. Pharming schemes generally happen the
following way:
Wheat goes on the Internet intending shop online. Wheat types in the domain
name of the website where she previously shopped online. The store’s website
appears on her computer screen, she sees a shirt she likes and purchases it. To finalize
her purchase, Wheat enters her credit card number and the expiration date. In addition,
Wheat types in her home address so that the shirt can be delivered to her.
Unbeknownst to Wheat, she has given her credit card number and home address
to a criminal using pharming so that he could harvest her financial and personal
information. The criminal manipulated the domain name system (DNS) to redirect
Wheat’s requested website to a counterfeit website. The counterfeit website looked
and operated just like the website to which Wheat intended to go.
4
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
Before you enter important personal or financial information on a webpage,
verify the site’s authenticity. If you know it, type in its specific IP address rather than
it’s web name.
DOES VIRGINIA LAW PROTECT YOU FROM
PHISHING AND PHARMING?
Yes! The Office of the Attorney General worked with the 2005 General
Assembly to draft and pass Anti-Phishing Legislation. This new law makes it a
felony to use a computer for phishing and pharming schemes aimed at obtaining a
person’s financial and personal information.
A criminal convicted of phishing faces up to five (5) years imprisonment and/or
up to a twenty-five hundred dollar ($2,500) fine for each violation. A person who
uses a computer to perpetrate a phishing or pharming scheme and later sells or
distributes a person’s financial and personal information or uses that information
to commit another crime, commits a felony punishable up to ten (10) years imprisonment and/or a twenty-five hundred dollar ($2,500) fine.
TIPS TO AVOID FALLING VICTIM TO PHISHING:
● Don’t take the bait! Never disclose your financial or personal information in
response to an unsolicited email regardless of who sent it.
● Never click on a link embedded in an unsolicited email regardless of who
sent it.
● Verify the authenticity of a website before entering financial or personal
information via that website by using the sites certificate of authority, such
as VeriSign.
● Go to a website using its specific Internet Protocol (IP) address rather than
its web name.
● Check your online accounts regularly for any suspicious activity.
● Keep separate passwords for each account you have online.
● Update anti-virus software weekly.
● Install and run firewalls on your computer.
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
5
REDUCING ACCESS TO YOUR
PERSONAL IDENTIFYING INFORMATION:
To minimize the amount of information subject to theft, do not carry extra
credit cards, your Social Security card, birth certificate, or passport in your wallet or
purse, except when needed.
To reduce the amount of your personal information that is in circulation, you
may wish to consider the following:
● Remove your name from the marketing lists of the three credit reporting
bureaus—Equifax Information Services, LLC , Experian (TRW), and Trans
Union. This will limit the number of pre-approved offers of credit that you
receive in the mail. When in transit or tossed into the garbage, such solicitations are a potential target of identity thieves who can use them to order
credit cards in your name.
● Order your credit report once a year from each of the three credit bureaus
to check for inaccuracies and fraudulent use of your accounts. Monitoring
your credit card statements and your credit report are the most important
steps you can take to safeguard your credit identity.
6
CREDIT BUREAU
Report Consumer Fraud
Request Credit Report Get off Mailing Lists
Equifax Information
Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
www.equifax.com
Call 1.800.525.6285 and
write to address at left
Call 1.800.685.1111
Call 1.888.567.8688
and write to address
at left
Experian (TRW)
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
www.experian.com
Call 1.888.397.3742
Call 1.888.397.3742
Call 1.800.567.8688
Trans Union
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
www.transunion.com
Call 1.800.680.7289 and
write to:
Fraud Victim Asst. Dept.
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Call 1.800.888.4213
or write to:
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Call 1.888.567.8688
and write to:
P.O. Box 97328
Jackson, MS 392887328
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
● Register your telephone number with the National Do-Not-Call Registry.
This registry prevents most telemarketing calls to the registered number with the
exception of calls from political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors
and companies with which you have an existing business relationship.
To register your number, visit:
www.donotcall.gov
Or, call:
1.888.382.1222
● Remove your name, home address, and home telephone number from many
mailing and telephone lists through the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail
Preference Service and Telephone Preference Service. This free service is only
available for individuals and home addresses (not businesses). You will only
be removed from the Direct Marketing Association’s member lists for five
years, so after five years you need to request to be removed again.
To remove your name and home address from national mailing lists, write to:
DMA Mail Preference Service
Preference Service Manager
1120 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036-6700
www.the-dma.org/cgi/offmailinglistdave#regform
● Remove your name and address from the telephone book, reverse directories,
and city directories. There is usually a nominal monthly charge for this service. It typically ranges from $1 to $2 per month. By eliminating your name
from these sources, you can reduce access to your personal information from
sources such as the Internet (where public information resources are used as
databases), telemarketers, and identity thieves. Please call your local telephone service to make these changes.
● Virginia law does require you to disclose your Social Security number to the
Department of Motor Vehicles when applying for a Virginia driver’s license,
even though it will not be on your license. The Social Security number is the
most frequently used record keeping number in the United States. The widespread use of Social Security numbers makes invasion of privacy and fraud
easier. As of July 1, 2002, Virginia law requires that a driver’s license number be different than a licensee’s social security number unless the licensee
requests in writing that his social security number be used. (Virginia Code
Section 46.2-342)
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
7
● Virginia law protects personal information contained within motor vehicle
records from public disclosure, except in limited circumstances. (Virginia
Code Section 46.2–208).
● Virginia law prohibits the State Board of Elections from releasing the Social
Security number of any registered voter except on lists furnished to a court
of the Commonwealth or the United States for jury selection purposes.
(Virginia Code Sections 24.2–405 and 444).
● Install a locked mailbox at your residence to reduce mail theft or use a post
office box.
● When you order new checks, consider removing extra information such as
your Social Security number, assigned driver’s license number, middle name,
and telephone number. The less personal identifying information you make
available, the more likely an identity thief will choose an easier target. Do not
have new checks sent to your home mailbox; ask that they be delivered to the
financial institution and make arrangements to pick them up in person.
● When you pay bills, do not leave the envelopes containing your checks at
your home mailbox for the postal carrier to deliver. If stolen, your checks can
be altered and then cashed. If stolen, credit card payments contain all the
necessary information that an identity thief needs. To the maximum extent
possible, do not write your credit card account number or Social Security
number on your checks when making a payment. Virginia law generally
prohibits merchants from requiring customers who pay for goods or services
by check to produce a credit card for recordation of the number on the
check. (Virginia Code Section 11–33.1.) Due to an increased risk of theft and
vandalism, it is best to mail bills, tax payments, and other sensitive items at
the post office rather than from your residence or neighborhood drop boxes.
CODE OF VIRGINIA
IDENTITY FRAUD; PENALTY; VICTIM ASSISTANCE
A. It shall be unlawful for any person, without the authorization or permission of
the person who is the subject of the identifying information, with the intent to
defraud, for his own use or the use of a third person, to:
1. Obtain, record or access identifying information which is not available to
the general public that would assist in accessing financial resources, obtaining
identification documents, or obtaining benefits of such other person; or
2. Obtain goods or services through the use of identifying information of
such other person; or
8
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
3. Obtain identification documents in such other person’s name.
B. It shall be unlawful for any person to use identification documents or identifying information of another to avoid summons, arrest, prosecution, or to impede
a criminal investigation.
C. As used in this section, “identifying information” shall include but not be limited to:
(i) name; (ii) date of birth; (iii) social security number; (iv) driver’s license number;
(v) bank account numbers; (vi) credit or debit card numbers; (vii) personal identification
numbers (PIN); (viii) electronic identification codes; (ix) automated or electronic
signatures; (x) biometric data; (xi) fingerprints; (xii) passwords; or (xiii) any other
numbers or information that can be used to access a person’s financial resources,
obtain identification, act as identification, or obtain goods or services.
D. Violations of this section shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. Any violation
resulting in financial loss of greater than $200 shall be punishable as a Class 6
felony. Any second or subsequent conviction shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony.
Any violation resulting in the arrest and detention of the person whose identification
documents or identifying information were used to avoid summons, arrest, prosecution, or to impede a criminal investigation shall be punishable as a Class 6 felony. In
any proceeding brought pursuant to this section, the crime shall be considered to
have been committed in any locality where the person whose identifying information
was appropriated resides, or in which any part of the offense took place, regardless
of whether the defendant was ever actually in such locality.
E. Upon conviction, in addition to any other punishment, a person found guilty of
this offense shall be ordered by the court to make restitution as the court deems
appropriate to any person whose identifying information was appropriated. Such
restitution may include the person’s actual expenses associated with correcting
inaccuracies or errors in his credit report or other identifying information.
F. Upon the request of a person whose identifying information was appropriated, the
Attorney General may provide assistance to the victim in obtaining information
necessary to correct inaccuracies or errors in his credit report or other identifying
information; however, no legal representation shall be afforded such person.
IDENTITY THEFT PROTECTION ACT
In May 2002, the Office of the Attorney General launched a statewide Identity
Theft Task Force composed of technology and business leaders, law enforcement
officers, legislators, identity theft victims and consumer advocates. The Task Force
was charged with developing practical and effective ways to prevent identity theft
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
9
and to help victims. As a result of the findings of the task force, the Virginia General
Assembly enacted the Identity Theft Protection Act in 2003.
The Act provides for increased protections against identity theft including the following:
● All state institutions must remove social security numbers from ID
cards/badges by July 1, 2004. State colleges and universities must remove
social security numbers from student IDs by July 1, 2005. (Virginia Code
Section 2.2-3800)
● Virginia law now prohibits identity theft through the impersonation of a law
enforcement officer. (Virginia Code Section 18.2-186.3)
● Identity theft violations under Virginia law have been expanded to include
theft of a deceased person’s identity. (Virginia Code Section 18.2-186.3)
● Consumer reporting agencies are now required to note that a police report has
been filed by a potential victim on that victim’s credit report within 30 days
of the filing of the report. (Virginia Code Section 18.2-186.3:1)
● Virginia Code Section 18.2-204.1 was amended to make it a Class 1 misdemeanor to sell or transfer a birth certificate for the purpose of identity theft.
If the purpose is to acquire a firearm then it is a Class 6 felony.
● A circuit court clerk may now refuse to accept any instrument submitted for
recordation that includes a grantor’s, grantee’s or trustee’s social security number. (Virginia Code Section 17.2-227)
IDENTITY THEFT PASSPORT
An Identity Theft Passport is available to any Virginian who:
● Has filed a police report because they believe they are a victim of identity crime;
and/or
● Has obtained a court order expunging their record as a result of identity crime.
If you have filed a police report because you are a victim of an identity crime or
you have obtained an expungement order, you may apply for an Identity Theft
Passport from the Office of the Attorney General. The Attorney General’s Office will
record and verify, with the appropriate law enforcement agency, that you have filed a
police report or have obtained an expungement order. Upon verification and review
of your information, the Office of the Attorney General will issue you an Identity
Theft Passport stating as such. The Attorney General’s Office will keep a record of
your application and information on file.
10
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
The Identity Theft Passport is a card that you can carry and present to law
enforcement or other individuals who may challenge you about your identity in the
event you are the victim of identity crime. It is designed to serve as a shield to
protect victims from unlawful detention or arrest for crimes committed by someone
else under a stolen identity.
You may fill out the Identity Theft Passport application located in the back
of this booklet. It should be completed, signed and mailed via the postal service
back to the Attorney General’s Office. In order for the Attorney General’s Office
to act promptly on your application, please enclose a copy of your police report or
expungement order. You may also fill out an application for an Identity Theft
Passport online by visiting www.vaag.com. After completing the online form,
please print it, sign it and mail it via the postal service back to the Attorney
General’s Office.
Or you may write to the Attorney General’s Office for an application at:
Office of the Attorney General
ID Theft Passport Program
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
All applications must be submitted in person or by mail and will be acted
upon promptly. In order to complete an application, you must have filed a police
report in a Virginia jurisdiction or have obtained a court order expunging your
record in a Virginia court. Please include your report or court order with your
passport application.
CREDIT CARDS
Reduce the number of credit cards you actively
use to a bare minimum. Carry only one or two
of them in your wallet. Cancel all unused
accounts. Even though you do not use them,
their account numbers are recorded in your
credit report, which is full of data that can be
used by identity thieves.
Keep a list or photocopy of all of your credit
cards, account numbers, expiration dates, and the
telephone numbers of the customer service and
fraud departments of your card issuers. Keep this
list in a secure place (not your wallet or purse) so
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
11
you can quickly contact your creditors in case your cards have been lost or stolen.
Do the same with your bank accounts.
Never give your credit card number or other personal information over the telephone
unless you have a trusted business relationship with the company AND YOU HAVE
INITIATED THE CALL. Identity thieves have been known to call their victims with
a fake story that goes something like this: “Today is your lucky day! You have been chosen
by the _______ Sweepstakes to receive a free trip to the Bahamas. All we need is your
credit card number and expiration date to verify you as the lucky winner.”
Always take credit card and ATM receipts with you.
Never toss them in a public trash container. You should also shred such receipts
before discarding them in the garbage.
Request, in writing, that each of your credit card issuers removes your name from
any marketing and promotional lists that they may sell or share with other companies.
In addition, if any of your credit card issuers send random issue convenience checks,
request, in writing, to be removed from their mailing list for these checks. Credit card
convenience checks are easy prey for identity thieves to steal and use, while often times
the consumer is unaware that the checks were even issued. Your credit card billing
statement should contain a different address for correspondence to the issuer. Do not
send your requests to the same address where you send your credit card payments.
Watch the mail when you are expecting a new credit card that you have applied
for or a reissued credit card that has expired. Immediately contact the issuer if the
credit card does not arrive.
One of the benefits for consumers using the Internet, a global network of interlinked computer networks, is the ability to purchase products and services around
the clock electronically from the convenience of their home or office. One of the
drawbacks is the potential for fraud and deception. Be very careful before you use a
credit card on the Internet or provide personal information (such as your Social
Security number or date of birth) on an electronic application.
When creating passwords and PINs, do not use the last four digits of your Social
Security number, your birthdate, middle name, mother’s maiden name, address, or
anything else that could be discovered easily by thieves.
Ask your financial institution to add extra security protection to your account.
Most will allow you to use an additional code (a number or a word) when accessing
your account. Do not use the common passwords and PINs listed above.
Memorize all your passwords. Don’t record them on anything in your wallet,
purse, or dayplanner.
12
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
Shield your hand when using your PIN at an ATM, a debit machine, or when
making long distance phone calls with your phone card. “Shoulder surfers” may be
spying nearby with binoculars or a video camera.
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
Protect your Social Security number. Release it only when absolutely necessary or
when required by law (such as tax forms, employment records, banking/stock/property
transactions, driver’s/marriage/professional license applications, etc.). If a government
agency requests important personal information, including your Social Security number,
a Privacy Act notice should accompany the request. (5 United States Code Section
552a(e)(3)). This notice will explain whether disclosure of such information is required or
requested, the use that will be made of the information, and what will happen if you refuse
to provide all or any part of the information. Your Social Security number is the key to
your banking accounts, credit card accounts, and your insurance and health benefits. This
makes it a prime target of identity thieves. As previously discussed, you may wish to use
an “assigned” driver’s license number rather than your Social Security number.
Do not have your Social Security number printed on your checks. Because
of the risk of fraud, even though one may be requested for identification, ask that
merchants not hand-write your Social Security number on your checks. Currently,
however, there is no law against a merchant requiring you to divulge your Social
Security number for recordation before accepting a check. Offering an assigned
driver’s license number is usually an adequate substitute.
Order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement
(PEBES) (SSA-7004) from the Social Security Administration every three years to
check for inaccuracies or fraud. To request a PEBES application call or write to:
Office of Public Inquiries
6401 Security Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21235
Phone: 1.800.772.1213
Web site to download a PEBES application:
http://www.ssa.gov
RESPONSIBLE INFORMATION HANDLING
Carefully review your credit card statements and all of your bills for unauthorized
charges or fraudulent use. Be especially careful with your phone bills, because your
local telephone company is obliged to let other carriers use their billing systems for
a fee. More and more unscrupulous third parties are billing consumers for goods
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
13
such as: special services, calling plans, or
memberships that they did not order and do
not want. The practice is commonly called
“cramming.” Scrutinize your local, long distance, and cellular telephone bills each month
for fraudulent or unauthorized charges.
Additionally, be aware that some long distance
telephone companies resort to deceptive tactics
to switch your service without authorization.
This practice is commonly called “slamming”.
You may contact your local telephone company
to verify your long distance carrier and request
a freeze on your account, which prevents
account changes without your specific authorization using a password. There is often a
nominal fee to “freeze” your account.
Do not toss credit card convenience
checks or pre-approved credit offers in your trash or recycling bin without first tearing
them into small pieces or shredding them. They can be used by “dumpster divers”
to cash the checks or order credit cards in your name and mail them to their address.
Do the same with other sensitive information like credit card receipts, banking
statements and phone bills. Home shredders can be purchased in most office
supply stores.
Demand that your financial institution adequately safeguard your personal
identifying information. Discourage your bank from using the last four digits of
your Social Security number as your assigned personal identification number (PIN).
Request that your financial institution remove account numbers from ATM receipts
(many have already done so). Inquire whether they shred all paper records before
discarding them. Always take your receipts from ATMs with you and shred or store
them in a safe place. By adopting responsible information handling practices, you
and your financial institution can reduce the risk of fraud.
When you complete credit or loan applications, determine how the company disposes of them. If you are not convinced that they store them in locked files and/or
shred them, you may want to take your business elsewhere. Some auto dealerships,
department stores, car rental agencies and video stores have been known to be careless
with customer applications. For example, an employee at the business with insider
access may retrieve your personal information to sell or use fraudulently. When you
pay by credit card, ask the business how it stores and disposes of the transaction slip.
Avoid paying by credit card if you think the business does not use adequate safeguards.
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How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
Store your canceled checks in a safe place. In the wrong hands, they could reveal
a lot of information about you, including your account number, telephone number,
and driver’s license number. To the maximum extent possible, do not permit your
credit card number to be written onto your checks. As a general rule and as noted
above, Virginia law prohibits merchants from recording your credit card number as
a condition of acceptance of a check for the sale of goods or services. Virginia law
does NOT prohibit a merchant from requesting that you display a credit card, in
limited situations, and for limited purposes, such as an indication of credit worthiness or identification, and in these situations allows the merchant to record only the
card type, the issuer (bank name) and the expiration date of the credit card.
However, a credit card number may be requested and recorded in lieu of a deposit
to secure payment in the event of loss, damage, or default. (Virginia Code Section
11-33.1.)
When in public places, always be aware of your surroundings. Thieves commonly use a distraction in cramped public places such as elevators and revolving
doors to “bump and lift” your money, identification, and credit cards. Be especially
cautious with bags and purses that can be an easy target for a thief to grab and run.
Magazines, credit card companies, clubs and organizations, charities, manufacturers, and retailers often make lists of their subscribers, customers, members, and
donors available to other businesses for a fee. Because your personal information is
reproduced and sold in countless ways, you should always exercise caution when you
are making personal identifying information available by utilizing the Internet,
sending a mail-in rebate/survey/warranty card, entering a drawing or sweepstakes,
donating money, and even subscribing to magazine services.
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
15
A GUIDE
FOR
VICTIMS
It is important to act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage to your
credit and personal reputation. While identity theft is a “crime” that law enforcement officials can prosecute, the perpetrator is often difficult to track. In addition,
law enforcement officials cannot clean up the havoc created for you.
In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, names, and telephone numbers. Keep notes on the time spent
and any expenses incurred. Confirm all conversations in writing. Send correspondence
by certified mail (return receipt requested). Keep copies of all letters and documents.
LAW ENFORCEMENT
Report the crime to all police and sheriff ’s departments with jurisdiction in your
case. Depending on where the crime(s) occurred, there may be multiple law enforcement
agencies having jurisdiction. Give them as much documented evidence as possible.
Get a copy of your incident report or whatever verification the department will give
you. Keep the telephone number of your fraud investigator handy and give it to
creditors and others who require certification of your case. Banks and credit card
companies may require you to produce the police report to verify the crime.
If you need assistance in obtaining the telephone number and address of your
local sheriff, police, or Commonwealth’s Attorney, or a similar official of a separate
Virginia city or county where the crime may have occurred, the Office of the
Attorney General can assist you. As of July 1, 2004, the Office of the Attorney
General has concurrent, or shared, jurisdiction with all Commonwealth’s Attorneys
to assist in the prosecution of Identity Theft cases throughout Virginia. For thefts
that occurred outside of Virginia, your local sheriff, police, or Commonwealth’s
Attorney may be able to assist you in locating the telephone number and address of
their counterpart(s) in the other state(s). In certain cases, those officials may be able
to coordinate with their counterpart(s) in the other state(s) on matters relating to the
investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the thefts.
FEDERAL AND STATE IDENTITY THEFT LAWS
The federal government and several states have passed identity theft laws. Virginia’s
identity fraud statute is at Virginia Code Section 18.2-186.3. The Federal Identity
Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act is at 18 United States Code Section 1028.
Federal identity theft cases are prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice.
16
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a national clearinghouse for identity
theft. If you are a victim, you can file a complaint with the FTC. The FTC will make
your complaint available to law enforcement nationwide to assist them in their investigations and prosecutions of identity thieves. The FTC also aggregates the information in
your complaint with other complaints to develop trends and statistics which enable
policymakers and others to better understand identity theft and to craft effective remedies.
Federal Trade Commission
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
Toll-Free Hotline: 1.877.IDTHEFT (1.877.438.4338)
TDD: 1.202.326.2502
CREDIT BUREAUS
Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies—Equifax
Information Services, LLC, Experian (TRW), and Trans Union. Report the theft of your
credit cards and the misuse of your account numbers. Request that your credit account
be flagged. Also, add a victim’s statement (up to 100 words) to your report, such as: “My
identification has been used to apply for fraudulent credit. Contact me at [your telephone number or mailing address] to verify ALL applications.” Be sure to ask how long
the fraud alert is posted on your credit account and how you can extend it if necessary.
CREDIT BUREAU
Report Consumer Fraud
Request Credit Report Get off Mailing Lists
Equifax Information
Services, LLC
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
www.equifax.com
Call 1.800.525.6285 and
write address at left
Call 1.800.685.1111
Call 1.888.567.8688
and write to address
at left
Experian (TRW)
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
www.experian.com
Call 1.888.397.3742
Call 1.888.397.3742
Call 1.800.567.8688
Trans Union
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
www.transunion.com
Call 1.800.680.7289 and
write to:
Fraud Victim Asst. Dept.
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Call 1.800.888.4213
or write to:
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Call 1.888.567.8688
and write to:
P.O. Box 97328
Jackson, MS 392887328
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
17
Be aware that these measures may not entirely stop fraudulent new accounts from
being opened by the identity thief. Ask the credit bureaus in writing to provide you
with copies every few months so you can monitor your credit report. Upon your
request, a credit bureau is required to provide you with one free credit report during
any 12-month period if you have reason to believe the report contains inaccurate
information due to fraud. Additional credit reports shall not exceed an $8.00 charge
and this fee is often waived. (15 United States Code Section 1682j(c)(3)). Request, in
writing, that the credit bureaus provide you with the names and phone numbers of
credit grantors with whom fraudulent accounts have been opened. Request, in writing, that the credit bureaus remove inquiries that have been generated due to the
fraudulent access. Request, in writing, that all fraudulent information and inquiries
be permanently removed from your credit report. You may also request the credit
bureaus to notify those who have received your credit report in the last six months to
alert them to the disputed and erroneous information (two years for employers).
CREDITORS
Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently—by telephone and in writing. Obtain replacement cards with new account
numbers for your own accounts that have been used fraudulently. Ask that old
accounts be processed as “account closed at consumer’s request.” This is better than
“card lost or stolen,” because when this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it
can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss. Carefully monitor your mail and
credit card statements for evidence of fraudulent activity. If you find such activities,
report it immediately to credit grantors.
The Federal Truth in Lending Act limits your liability—in most cases—for
unauthorized credit card charges to $50.00 per card. You must notify your credit
card issuers in writing. The Federal Fair Credit Billing Act establishes procedures for
resolving billing errors on your credit card accounts. For more information on these
laws, contact the FTC (see contact information under the Federal Trade
Commission listed on page 16).
Request that credit grantors provide you with a copy of all fraudulent credit
applications and all statements of incurred charges. Such information may be helpful
in disputing the application and/or charges as fraudulent. If the credit grantor resists
providing you this information, contact your local police or sheriff ’s department for
assistance. The credit grantor should readily provide such information when
requested to do so by local law enforcement authorities.
Pay particular attention to the personal identifying information the identity
thief has provided on the application and note any discrepancies that may exist.
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How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
When reviewing the charges, note the date of the purchases, where the purchases
were made, and what types of products or services were purchased. Look for dates,
places or items that contradict your own schedule, whereabouts, or tastes.
CREDIT REQUIREMENTS TO VERIFY FRAUD
You may be asked by banks or credit grantors to complete and notarize fraud
affidavits, which could become costly. The law does NOT require that a notarized
affidavit be provided to banks or creditors. A written statement and supporting
documentation should be sufficient (unless the bank or creditor offers to pay for the
notary). Overly burdensome requirements by banks or creditors should be reported
to the government authority that regulates the credit card issuer. To determine which
authority regulates the particular credit card issuer in question, contact:
State Corporation Commission
Bureau of Financial Institutions
1300 East Main Street, Suite 800
P.O. Box 640
Richmond, VA 23218 - 0640
Phone:. 804.371.9657
Toll Free in Virginia: 1.800.552.7945
www.state.va.us/scc
STOLEN CHECKS
If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts opened fraudulently, report it to
the check verification companies listed below. Put stop payments on any outstanding
checks if you are unsure of their validity. Cancel your checking and savings accounts
Check Verification Company
Telephone Number
Mailing Address
CHECKRITE
1.800.766.2748
P.O. Box 66178
Chicago, IL 60666
CHEXSYSTEMS
1.800.428.9623
12005 Ford Rd., Suite 600
Dallas, TX 75234
CERTEGY CHECK SERVICES
1.800.437.5120
11601 N. Roosevelt Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33716
SCAN
1.800.262.7771
12005 Ford Rd., Suite 600
Dallas, TX 75234-7253
TELECHECK
1.800.710.9898
P.O. Box 4451
Houston, TX 77210-4451
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
19
and obtain new account numbers. Give the bank a secret password for your account.
When creating a password, do not use common numbers like the last four digits of
your Social Security number, your birth date, middle name, mother’s maiden name,
address, or anything else that could easily be discovered by thieves.
AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINE
(ATM) CARDS
If your ATM card has been stolen or compromised, contact the issuing financial institution and
request a new card, account number, and password.
Do not use your old password or the common
passwords and personal identification numbers
listed above. Under the Federal Electronic Fund
Transfer Act (“EFTA”), you could lose as little as $50
and as much as all of the money taken with an ATM card
depending on when you contact the ATM card issuer in writing.
For more information on the EFTA, contact the FTC (see contact information
under the Federal Trade Commission listed on page 16).
FRAUDULENT CHANGES OF ADDRESS,
MAIL THEFT, OR OTHER MAIL INVOLVEMENT
Notify the U.S. Postal Inspector’s Office if you suspect an identity thief has filed
a change of address with the post office or has used the mail to commit bank or credit
fraud. Theft of mail is a felony. Determine where the fraudulent credit cards were
sent. Notify the local Postmaster for that address to forward all mail in your name
to your own address. You may also need to talk with the local mail carrier for that
address as well.
U.S. Postal Inspection Service
Operations Support Group
222 S. Riverside Plaza, Suite 1250
Chicago, IL 60606 - 6100
Phone: 1.800.372.8347
www.upsp.gov/websites/depart/inspect/fraud/MailFraudComplaint
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How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
SECRET SERVICE JURISDICTION
The Secret Service investigates crimes dealing with credit card fraud, financial
institution fraud, and crimes dealing with the false use of personal identifiers (such
as name, date of birth, or Social Security number) relating to financial crimes.
However, the Secret Service usually does not investigate individual cases unless the
dollar amount is high or you are one of many victims of a fraud ring. If the actual
crime (fraudulent application or charges) occurred outside of Virginia, the Secret
Service may forward your case to the appropriate office.
U.S. Secret Service
Washington Field Office, Suite 6000
1100 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: 1.202.406.8000
www.secretservice.gov
Local Information:
Norfolk 757.441.3200—Federal Building, Norfolk, VA 23510
Richmond 804.771.2274—600 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219
Roanoke 540.345.4301—105 Franklin Road, SW, Ste. 2, Roanoke, VA
24011
SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER MISUSE
To determine if someone is misusing your Social Security number for employment purposes, order a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate
Statement (PEBES) (SSA-7004) from the Social Security Administration to check
for inaccuracies or fraud. To request a PEBES application, call or write to the office
listed below. If you determine that too many or too few earnings are recorded on
your PEBES, or if your name is recorded incorrectly, call or write to:
Social Security Administration/OIG Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235
Phone: 1.800.269.0271
Web site to download PEBES application: http://www.ssa.gov
If someone is misusing your Social Security number, as a last resort, you may
consider changing your number. The Social Security Administration will change
your number only if you fit specific fraud victim criteria. For more information, call
or write the office listed below and request the following fact sheet: Social Security:
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
21
When Someone Misuses Your Social Security Number, SSA Pub. No. 05-10064. Report
the fraudulent use of your Social Security number to:
Social Security Administration
Office of the Inspector General
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235
Phone: 1.800.269.0271 (OIG Fraud/Waste/Abuse Hotline)
E-mail: [email protected]
INCOME TAX FRAUD
Any fraudulent use of another person’s Social Security number, including dependents’ Social Security numbers, to obtain an income tax refund should be reported to:
Internal Revenue Service
Attn: Duty Officer
400 N. 8th Street
Richmond, VA 23240
Phone: 800.829.0433
www.irs.gov
PASSPORTS
If you are the victim of identity theft and have a U.S. passport, notify the U.S.
Passport Agency, in writing, to be on the lookout for anyone ordering a new passport
fraudulently. You should ask to have a Department of State Form #DSP-64 sent to
you. This form is used to notify the Passport Agency and the State Department about
the theft of your U.S. passport. You should then make a copy of that form for your
records and send the original back to the agency listed on the form.
U.S. Passport Agency
1111 19th Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20522-1705
Phone: 202.647.0518
www.travel.state.gov/passport
UTILITIES
If your cellular phone or long distance calling card has been stolen or if you discover fraudulent charges on your bills, cancel the accounts and open new ones. To
22
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
avoid being “slammed,” (deceptive tactics used to switch telephone service without
authorization) request that your local telephone service freeze your long distance carrier
so it cannot be changed without specific authorization from you, using a password.
There is usually a nominal fee for this service. To avoid being “crammed,” (being
billed for special services, calling plans or memberships you do not want) scrutinize
every charge on your billing statements for fraudulent or unauthorized charges.
Notify your gas, electric, water, cable, and trash utilities that you are a victim of
identity theft and alert them to the possibility that the thief may try to establish
accounts using your personal information.
DRIVER’S LICENSE NUMBER MISUSE
You may need to change your driver’s license number if someone is using your
number fraudulently. Call the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ Information
Center and verify the last issuance date of your license. If there is a discrepancy and
you have a non-commercial driver’s license, go to your local driver’s license station
and apply for a duplicate license with an assigned number. Commercial drivers will
be unable to use an assigned number, but should contact the Motor Vehicle
Enforcement Office to file a fraud report. Send a letter, complete with supporting
documents, requesting a fraud investigation to:
Virginia Motor Vehicle Enforcement
2300 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220
Phone: 1.804.367.6600
www.dmv.state.va.us
FALSE CIVIL AND CRIMINAL JUDGMENTS
Sometimes victims of identity theft are wrongfully accused of crimes committed
by the imposter. If a civil judgment has been entered against you for actions taken
by your imposter, contact the court, or the Commonwealth’s Attorney where the
judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft.
If you are wrongfully prosecuted for criminal charges, you may contact Virginia
State Police at:
Virginia State Police
P.O. Box 27472
Richmond, VA 23261-7472
Phone: 1.800.674.2000
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
23
Or you may contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation and ask how to clear
your name.
U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation
F.B.I. Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20535-0001
Phone: 1.202.324.3000
CREDIT REPORT FRAUD
If you find that there has been unauthorized access or use of your credit report,
both this office and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can provide you with
information about your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FTC
receives complaints from consumers who are victims of identity theft. The FTC
does not investigate or prosecute criminal cases; those are handled by the United
States Department of Justice. The Commission can provide information to
consumers who have been victimized by identity theft to assist them in resolving the
financial and other problems that can result from this crime. In addition to this
office, you may call or write to:
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center-240
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20580
Phone: 1.202.326.3128
or 1.877.438.4338 (FTC Identity Theft Hotline)
www.ftc.gov
INSURANCE COVERAGE
You may want to consult your insurance agent to determine whether your
losses are covered by household or other insurance policies.
LEGAL HELP
You may want to consult a private attorney to determine what legal action to
take against credit grantors and/or credit bureaus if they are not cooperative in
removing fraudulent entries from your credit report or if their negligence is a factor.
An attorney can help you recover from the fraud and determine whether your rights
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How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
under various credit, banking, Social Security, and other laws have been violated. The Lawyer Referral Service of the Virginia State Bar can provide you with
the names of attorneys in your area that handle consumer protection issues.
If you should decide to consult with the attorney to whom you were referred,
this service ensures that you will not be charged more than $25.00 for the first
half hour of consultation. Call or write to:
Virginia State Bar
707 East Main Street, Suite 1500
Richmond, VA 23219-2308
Phone: 1.804.775.0808 or Toll Free: 1.800.552.7977
MAKING CHANGES
If you are disappointed with the privacy protection and fraud assistance
available under current laws, consider writing your federal and state legislators
concerning your experience. The Office of the Attorney General can assist you
in obtaining their addresses and telephone numbers. Contact the Virginia Office
of the Attorney General, Victim Notification Program, 900 East Main Street,
Richmond, Virginia 23219, e-mail at [email protected], or visit us at
www.oag.state.va.us or call 800.370.0459.
DON’T GIVE IN
Remember, you are generally not responsible for any bill, portion of a bill,
or checks written or cashed as a result of identity theft. Your credit rating should
not be permanently affected, and no legal action should be taken against you.
If any merchant, financial institution, or collection agency suggests otherwise,
simply restate your willingness to cooperate, but do not allow anyone to coerce
you into paying a fraudulent debt.
All Virginians should be aware of the increasingly widespread problem of
identity theft. The Office of the Attorney General has produced this guide to
assist you in preventing becoming a victim of identity theft. Should you become
a victim, this guide can help you regain your good name and credit record.
If you would like further information, please write to the Office of the Attorney
General, Victim Notification Program, 900 East Main Street, Richmond,
Virginia 23219, e-mail at [email protected], or visit us at
www.oag.state.va.us or call 800.370.0459.
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
25
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING
THE ID THEFT AFFIDAVIT
To make sure that you do not become responsible for the debts incurred by the
identity thief, you must provide proof that you didn’t create the debt to each of the
companies where accounts were opened or used in your name.
A working group composed of credit grantors, consumer advocates and the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) developed this ID Theft Affidavit to help you
report information to many companies using just one standard form. Use of this
affidavit is optional. While many companies accept this affidavit, others require that
you submit more or different forms. Before you send the affidavit, contact each
company to find out if they accept it.
You can use this affidavit where a new account was opened in your name.
The information will enable the companies to investigate the fraud and decide the
outcome of your claim. (If someone made unauthorized charges to an existing
account, call the company to find out what to do.)
This affidavit has two parts:
● ID Theft Affidavit is where you report general information about
yourself and the theft.
● Fraudulent Account Statement is where you describe the fraudulent
account(s) opened in your name. Use a separate Fraudulent Account
Statement for each company you need to write to.
When you send the affidavit to the companies, attach copies (NOT originals) of
any supporting documents (e.g., driver’s license, police report) you have.
Before submitting your affidavit, review the disputed account(s) with family
members or friends who may have information about the account(s) or access to
them.
Complete this affidavit as soon as possible. Many creditors ask that you send it
within two weeks of receiving it. Delaying could slow the investigation.
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
27
Be as accurate and complete as possible. You may choose not to provide some
of the information requested. However, incorrect or incomplete information will
slow the process of investigating your claim and absolving the debt. Please print
clearly.
When you have finished completing the affidavit, mail a copy to each creditor,
bank or company that provided the thief with the unauthorized credit, goods or
services you describe. Attach to each affidavit a copy of the Fraudulent Account
Statement with information only on accounts opened at the institution receiving
the packet, as well as any other supporting documentation you are able to provide.
Send the appropriate documents to each company by certified mail, return
receipt requested, so you can prove that it was received. The companies will review
your claim and send you a written response telling you the outcome of their investigation. Keep a copy of everything you submit for your records.
If you cannot complete the affidavit, a legal guardian or someone with power of
attorney may complete it for you. Except as noted, the information you provide will
be used only by the company to process your affidavit, investigate the events you
report and help stop further fraud. If this affidavit is requested in a lawsuit, the
company might have to provide it to the requesting party.
Completing this affidavit does not guarantee that the identity thief will be
prosecuted or that the debt will be cleared.
If you haven’t already done so, report the fraud to the following organizations:
1. Each of the three National Consumer reporting agencies. Ask each agency to
place a “fraud alert” on your credit report, and send you a copy of your credit
file. When you have completed your affidavit packet, you may want to send
them a copy to help them investigate the disputed accounts.
● Equifax Credit Information Services, LLC
(800) 525-6285/ (800) 685-1111
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
www.equifax.com
28
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
● Experian (TRW)
(888) 397-3742
P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013
www.experian.com
● TransUnion
(800) 680-7289/ (800) 888-4213
P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022
www.transunion.com
2. The fraud department at each creditor, bank or utility/service that provided
the identity thief with unauthorized credit, goods or services. This would be a
good time to find out if the company accepts this affidavit, and whether they
require notarization or a copy of the police report.
3. Your local police department. Ask the officer to take a report and give you the
report number and a copy of the incident report. When you have completed the
affidavit packet, you may want to give your police department a copy to help
them add to their report and verify the crime.
4. The FTC, which maintains the Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse—the federal
government’s centralized identity theft complaint database—and provides information to identity theft victims. You can call toll-free 1-877-ID-THEFT
(1-877-438-4338), visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or send mail to:
Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
The FTC collects complaints from identity theft victims and shares their information with law enforcement nationwide. This information also may be shared with
other government agencies, consumer reporting agencies, and companies where the
fraud was perpetrated to help resolve identity theft-related problems.
How to Avoid Identity Theft & A Guide for Victims
29
ID THEFT AFFIDAVIT
Name ________________________________________ Phone No. _________________________________Page i
Victim Information
(1) My full legal name is
____________________________________________________________________
(First)
(Middle)
(Last)
(Jr., Sr., III)
(2) (If different from above) When the events described in this affidavit took place, I was
known as
____________________________________________________________________
(First)
(Middle)
(Last)
(Jr., Sr., III)
(3) My date of birth is ____________________________________________________
(day/month/year)
(4) My social security number is ___ ___ ___ – ___ ___ – ___ ___ ___ ___
(5) My driver’s license or identification card state and number are ___________________
(6) My current address is __________________________________________________
City ____________________State _________________Zip Code _______________
(7) I have lived at this address since __________________________________________
(month/year)
(8) (If different from above) When the events described in this affidavit took place, my
address was
____________________________________________________________________
City_________________________State _______ Zip Code __________________
(9) I lived at the address in #8 from ___________________ until __________________
(month/year)
(month/year)
(10) My daytime telephone number is (__ __ __) __ __ __ – __ __ __ __
My evening telephone number is (__ __ __) __ __ __ – __ __ __ __
How the Fraud Occurred
Check all that apply for items 11 – 17:
(11) ___ I did not authorize anyone to use my name or personal information to seek the
money, credit, loans, goods or services described in this report.
(12) ___ I did not receive any benefit, money, goods or services as a result of the events
described in this report.
Name _______________________________________ Phone No. ________________________________Page ii
(13) ___ My identification documents (for example, credit cards; birth certificate;
driver’s license; social security card; etc.) were
___ stolen ___ lost on or about ________________________.
(day/month/year)
(14) ___ To the best of my knowledge and belief, the following person(s) used my information
(for example, my name, address, date of birth, existing account numbers, Social
Security number, mother’s maiden name, etc.) or identification documents to get
money, credit, loans, goods or services without my knowledge or authorization.
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
Name (if known)
Address (if known)
Phone number(s) (if known)
additional information (if known)
Name (if known)
Address (if known)
Phone number(s) (if known)
additional information (if known)
(15) ___ I do NOT know who used my information or identification documents to get
money, credit, loans, goods or services without my knowledge or authorization.
(16) ___ Additional comments: (For example, description of the fraud, which documents or
information were used or how the identity thief gained access to your information.)
(Attach additional pages as necessary)
Victim’s Law Enforcement Actions
(17) (check one)
I ___am ___am not willing to assist in the prosecution of the person(s)
who committed this fraud.
(18) (check one)
I ___am ___am not authorizing the release of this information to law enforcement
for the purpose of assisting them in the investigation and prosecution of the person(s)
who committed this fraud.
(19) (check all that apply)
I ___have ___have not reported the events described in this affidavit to the police
or other law enforcement agency. The police ___did ___did not write a report.
In the event you have contacted the police or other law enforcement agency, please complete
the following:
__________________________________
(AGENCY #1)
__________________________________
(Date of report)
___________________________________________
(Office/Agency personnel taking report)
___________________________________________
(Report Number, if any)
__________________________________
________________________________
(Phone number)
(e-mail address, if any)
Name _______________________________________ Phone No. ________________________________Page iii
__________________________________
(AGENCY #1)
__________________________________
(Date of report)
___________________________________________
(Office/Agency personnel taking report)
___________________________________________
(Report Number, if any)
__________________________________
________________________________
(Phone number)
(e-mail address, if any)
Documentation Checklist
Please indicate the supporting documentation you are able to provide to the companies
you plan to notify. Attach copies (NOT originals) to the affidavit before sending it to the companies.
(20) ___ A copy of a valid government-issued photo-identification card (for example, your
driver’s license, state-issued ID card or your passport). If you are under 16 and do not
have a photo-ID, you may submit a copy of your birth certificate or a copy of your
official school records showing your enrollment and place of residence.
(21) ___ Proof of residency during the time the disputed bill occurred, the loan was made,
or the other event took place (for example, a rental/lease agreement in your name,
a copy of a utility bill or a copy of an insurance bill).
(22) ___ A copy of the report you filed with the police or sheriff ’s department. If you are
unable to obtain a report or report number from the police, please indicate that in
Item 19. Some companies only need the report number, not a copy of the report.
You may want to check with each company.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the information I have provided in this affidavit
is true and correct to the best of my knowledge.
_____________________________________________
(signature)
________________________
(date signed)
Knowingly submitting false information on this form could subject you to criminal prosecution for
perjury.
_____________________________________________
(Notary)
[Check with each company. Creditors sometimes require notarization. If they do not, please have one
witness (non-relative) sign below that you completed and signed this affidavit.]
Witness:
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
__________________________________
(signature)
(date)
(printed name)
(telephone number)
Name _______________________________________ Phone No. ________________________________Page iv
Fraudulent Account Statement
Completing this Statement
•
•
•
Make as many copies of this page as you need. Complete a separate page for
each company you’re notifying and only send it to that company. Include a
copy of your signed affidavit.
List only the account(s) you’re disputing with the company receiving this form.
See the example below.
If a collection agency sent you a statement, letter or notice about the fraudulent
account, attach a copy of that document (NOT the original).
I declare (check all that apply):
___ As a result of the event(s) described in the ID Theft Affidavit, the following account(s)
was/were opened at your company in my name without my knowledge, permission or
authorization using my personal information or identifying documents:
Creditor Name/Address
(the company that opened the
account or provided the
goods or services)
Example
Example National Bank
22 Main Street
Columbus, Ohio 22722
Account
Number
Type of
unauthorized
credit/goods/services
provided by creditor
(if known)
Date
issued or
opened
(if known)
Amount/Value
provided
(the amount
charged or
the cost of the
goods/services)
01234567-89
Auto loan
01/05/2000
$25,500.00
___ During the time of the accounts described above, I had the following account opened
with your company:
Billing name _____________________________________________________________
Billing address ____________________________________________________________
Account number __________________________________________________________
Page v
ID THEFT PASSPORT REQUEST
VICTIM INFORMATION SHEET
Name: __________________________________________________________________
(First)
(Middle)
(Last)
(Jr., Sr., III)
Mailing Address: __________________________________________________________
(Address)
(City)
(State)
(ZIP)
E-Mail __________________________________________________________________
Social Secuity #_______________________________________________________________________
VA Driver’s License # _________________________________________________________________
(Must attach photo copy of VA driver’s license)
Home Phone: (_____)__________________Work Phone: (_____) ______________________
Date Of Birth:_________________ Sex:_______ Race: ____________________________
U.S. Citizen:
■ Yes
■ No
Non U.S. Citizen/Lawfully Present:
■ Yes
■ No
*Please indicate your status: __________________________________________________
Date you became aware of theft: ______________________________________________
County/City & State where theft occurred: ______________________________________
Resident of Virginia at time of incident?
■ Yes
■ No
VA Locality with which you filed police report: ___________________________________
Name & phone number of officer who took your report: ___________________________
Copy of VA police report or expungement order attached?
■ Yes
■ No
Name of court that issued expungement order/date of order: ________________________
Has the person who stole your information been identified?
If so, has the suspect been arrested?
■ Yes
■ No
■ Yes
■ No
■ Don’t Know
If yes, give the name of that suspect: ___________________________________________
Page vi
Type of theft/involvement:
■ Credit Card(s)
■ SSN Misuse
■ Drvr’s Lic
■ Passport
■ Stolen Checks
■ Mail
■ ATM
■ Income Tax Fraud
■ Civil/Crim Judgment
■ Ins. Coverage
■ Ind. Dept. Store Accts.
Give brief description of the incident(s) of your ID theft: ___________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________________
PLEASE READ BEFORE SIGNING: Please know that, in accordance with § 18.2-461, it shall be
unlawful for any person (i) to knowingly give a false report as to the commission of any crime to any l
aw-enforcement official with intent to mislead, or (ii) without just cause and with intent to interfere
with the operations of any law-enforcement official…violation of the provisions of this section shall be
punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor.
By signing this report, I attest that the information provided above is true and accurate and,
I acknowledge that I did file an accurate and true police report of this incident, a copy of which
is attached.
Signature: __________________________________ Today’s date: _________________________
Please inform this office, in writing, of any changes in your address.
Return this form to: Office of the Attorney General
ATTN: Identity Theft Passport
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Program Phone Numbers: (800) 370-0459/(804) 786-5284
Portions of this publication originate from the California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG),
11965 Venice Blvd., Ste. 408, Los Angeles, CA 90066 • Phone: 310-397-3404 • Web site: www.pirg.org/calpirg and
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, 5384 Linda Vista Rd., Ste. 306, San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: 619.298.3396 • e-mail: www.privacyrights.org.
02/04/05
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