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Identity Theft Victims' Assistance Guide: The Process of Healing

NCJ Number
Judith M. Collins Ph.D.; Sandra K. Hoffman B.A.
Date Published
60 pages
This handbook presents a step-by-step process for recovering from identity theft.
Written by two former victims of identity theft, the main goal of the book is to guide victims through the process of reclaiming their identity, dealing with the negative emotions related to victimization, and protecting against re-victimization. The handbook defines identity theft, describes how identities are typically stolen, and briefly considers the reactions and emotions experienced by most victims. The next section provides a step-by-step process for overcoming identity theft, which the authors warn could take as long as 40 hours or more to complete. The three main goals of the recovery process are to (1) help with the fraud investigation by collecting as much information as possible; (2) promote emotional healing by becoming directly involved in the case; and (3) provide a mechanism for the discharge of negative emotions related to the victimization. The process takes identity theft victims through the steps of contacting all three credit bureaus, filing a complaint with police and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and contacting the Social Security Administration. Advice is then tailored to specific types of identify theft, such as identify theft involving fraudulent or stolen checks, investments, stolen mail, misdemeanors or felonies, phone services, and bankruptcy. Descriptions and contact information is offered for many other agencies that identity theft victims may need to contact, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Internal Revenue Service. Facts are offered about the use of passwords and about how to read a credit report and clean up poor credit caused by identity theft. Advice is offered on how to protect the flow of personal information and how to minimize the risk of re-victimization. Several forms are offered to help with the process, such as forms for requesting free credit bureau reports. Forms, references, resources