How Can I Be a Victim of FTC Identity Theft?

Advertisement

FTC identity theft happens when someone pretends to be someone else by using the other person’s identity or personal information. Identity theft is often done in order to access your personal resources (bank accounts), obtain credit (credit card or mortgage) and to avail of other benefits in your name. If you become a victim of identity theft, you can be subjected to a lot of consequences because you will be held accountable for everything the thief made using your identity. You are a victim of identity thief when someone uses your name, Social Security Number or Credit Card Number without your permission. FTC identity theft is often done to commit fraudulent crimes.

The Top Consumer Complaint

FTC identity theft is the top consumer complaint of all times. In all forms of identity theft, credit card fraud reported the most cases. Identity theft has also been recorded in phone, utilities, loans, mortgages and availing of government services. With the widespread use of e-commerce or online shopping, identity theft has reached an all-time high.  The fraudulent use of Social Security Numbers also ranks high. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the government agency task with dealing with identity theft although the majority of the victims also notified the police.

How Can the FTC Help Identity Theft Victims?

FTC identity theft concentrates more on financial identity theft although they also deal with criminal identity theft and medical identity theft. If you are a victim of identity theft, visit the website of the Federal Trade Commission. There you will find resources on what to do should your identity be stolen. Also on the website is information on how you can recover if you are a victim as well as a complaint form so you can file a fraud affidavit. The fraud affidavit, together with the police report is important documents you need when you want to recover the amount “stolen” from you.

How Can I Dispute a Fraudulent Account Due to Identity Theft?

If you are a victim of FTC identity theft, you can dispute the fraud charges. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Compile all documents relating to the identity fraud evidences such as credit card statements or any witnesses.
  2. Act immediately and get in touch with the police, the FTC and the companies where the fraudulent charges were transacted.
  3. Make a thorough follow up to make sure that you will not be made accountable for any of the unauthorized charges as a result of the identity theft.

The Role of Businesses in Identifying Identity Theft

When you are a victim of FTC identity theft, the business where the fraudulent transaction transpired needs to provide you with all their transaction records associated with the identity theft. Businesses mandate under Section 609(2) of the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to comply with the victim’s request within 30 days. You cannot be denied this information unless the business can prove you have not really been a victim of identity theft. Businesses have to comply with the laws and regulations on identity theft as stipulated in the FCRA and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for financial institutions. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) are for all businesses to follow. The FTC however believes that public information is the best way to prevent identity theft.

How Can You Prevent FTC Identity Theft

You can avoid being a victim of FTC identity theft if you know how to protect yourself against this crime. The identity thief is so rampant that the FTC says, the more you understand it, the more you will be concerned. Here are a few tips to avoid being an identity thief victim.

 

  • When ordering your checks, have your initials instead of your full name printed on them. This will prevent anyone who took your checkbook from identifying your gender, and what to use when you sign your checks. The difference in signatures will prove you are a victim.
  • Instead of signing the back of your credit card, write “Photo ID required.” The stores will be held equally liable should they not comply with this and your credit card is used in a fraudulent transaction.
  • Never ever have your Social Security Number printed on any part of your checks. Should a merchant need it, you can simply provide it.
  • Photocopy all the “card” contents of your wallet including driver’s license, credit cards, Social Security card. The photocopies will help you remember what is in your wallet should it get stolen. The photocopies will also have the contact numbers you need to call to cancel your cards in case of theft.
  • Never allow anyone to swipe your credit card out of your sight.
  • Before throwing away any piece of paper with your personal information including credit card numbers, shred it to pieces.
  • Have a lock for your mailbox.

Always be conscious of identity theft especially with the ones associated with credit cards. Although there is a Fraud Alert System in place, you will never know when you will be a victim. Take all the necessary precautions listed above to avoid being a victim of FTC identity theft.