Identity Theft

How To File A Police Report For Identity Theft

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handcuffs, card on a laptop (Caption: How To File A Police Report For Identity Theft)We all cringe at the ping of the phone when we are spending money. But there is no worse feeling than hearing that ping… while you are at home… not spending money! Or receiving a demand for payment on an item you have never purchased!

Discovering that you have been a victim of identity theft is something we all dread. Not only is it the loss of our hard-earned income, but the hassle of replacing all our identification documents and alerting the relevant people.

If you’re unsure how to file a police report for identity theft, keep reading and we’ll guide you in the right direction.

How To Report Identity Theft

There are several steps that you will need to complete in the process of reporting identity theft. The quicker you contact the authorities about the theft, the sooner your name, property, and reputation can be protected, as well as your hard-earned money.

Report To The FTC

The first step when reporting identity theft is to contact the Federal Trade Commission where you will be directed to everything you need to know as an identity theft victim. The site offers an opportunity to file a report which can be used later in an investigation by law enforcement.

Contact Your Creditors

An important step in reporting identity theft is to alert your creditors. Let them know about the fraud so you can cancel cards or change pins, and they can start the process of issuing you replacement ones.

Should I Report Identity Theft To The Police?

Your first thought may be to go straight to the police. But unfortunately, while it is a good idea to know how to report identity theft to police, there is often not much they can do about it. Therefore, reporting to the FTC should be the first thing you do, and they will offer suggestions as to when you should file a police report.

Filing a police report is easier if you can offer the following information:

  • If you can identify the person using your identity fraudulently
  • If you have specific information that can help the police in their investigation
  • If the fraudster used your identity in the presence of a police officer
  • Creditors that may be affected by the situation

If you are filing police reports, there are several things you will need. Make sure you have all of them with you when you go. Write down the number on the police report because your creditors may ask for it and have at hand:

  • Copies of the collection notices or bills
  • Credit reports showing the fraudulent charges
  • Credit card or bank statements

Why It’s Important To Report ID Theft

When someone takes your personal information, they use your name to commit fraud. Filing reports may seem like too much on top of everything else. However, you must make a report of some kind, whether it is just with the FTC or whether it is an identity theft police report.

If you report identity theft, it will help protect your name and prove your innocence. It will also start an investigation into the fraud. Having a police report offers proof that you are not involved or responsible for any crimes committed using your name.

How To Protect Your Identity

If you have been a victim of identity theft, you are probably anxious to protect your identity as much as you can going forward. There are several things you can do that will help you protect your reputation and your credit.

Ask your creditors about credit locks, fraud alerts, and security freezes on your accounts. Some even offer additional monitoring of your credit which may be worth having for a while. Our experts outline all this and more in our ID theft prevention guide.

Here are more steps you can take right now to help mitigate the damage from your information leak.

Identity Theft Database

You can also check if your state has an identity theft database. If so, then it is worth adding your name to it, and this protects your name if a crime is committed in it.

Once your identity has been verified, alerts are sent to law enforcement agencies or those doing background checks to notify them that you are not responsible for the crime. Law enforcement will also take additional steps to verify your identity when serving warrants.

Close Accounts

If any of your accounts have had activity on them by the thief, shut them down immediately. Contact your banks and lenders and advise them of the situation.

You may also need new cards or account numbers so ask them about this. Some banks may require a police report of the fraud, especially if you want to dispute fraudulent charges.

Pins and Passwords

In the event that your identity was stolen by a cybercriminal, you should change your pin and password. Make sure you choose a new password that is different from what you used before, with a random combination of numbers, letters, and characters.

Report To The IRS

If the fraudster has your social security number, it can be used to claim a tax refund or apply for a job. The IRS will send you a notice if two returns get filed under the same social security numbers, and you can report tax identity theft to them.

State Consumers Protection

Your local consumer protection office offers resources that help you after your identity has been stolen. Among these are how to dispute transactions, manage creditors, and generally recover from theft.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s some questions we’ve received from readers regarding their ID theft police report filings.

Is It Possible To File My Report Online?

Most communications with the FTC can be done online, and they have an identity theft portal that will guide you through the filing steps. As far as filing your police report should you deem that a necessary step, that will depend on the city and precinct you are in, but typically those are done in person with an officer or within a law enforcement office.

Consider An ID Theft Protection Service

It is a long process to recover from identity theft. However, once you know where to start and the steps you need to take, hopefully it feels a little less daunting. Most importantly, you don’t want it to happen again. Consider an identity theft protection service to put measures in place that make it more difficult for thieves to access your information and misuse it.

Alex Schenker

Alex holds BS degrees in Management Science from the University of California at San Diego, and Computer Science from the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is honored to share his nearly two decades of experience in home security and automation, cybersecurity and identity theft protection with our readers. He realized it was time for a home security system when his neighbor’s house got broken into. He has tried to stay ahead of the curve by proactively applying security technologies and software that protect not only his home and family but his personal identity, sensitive information and finances. In his spare time, Alex enjoys playing tennis, going on hikes with his wife and dogs and surfing.

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