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Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2005
48 pages
This booklet helps victims of identity theft--the obtaining of another person's personal information for use in committing crimes against that person and others--to remedy the effects of the theft and take steps to prevent it from reoccurring.
The booklet first explains methods used by identity thieves to obtain an individual's personal information, such as credit card numbers and social security numbers. This is followed by the outlining of ways in which thieves may use this personal information for fraudulent gain that harms the victim, such as making credit card purchases, taking out loans in the victim's name, and assuming the victim's information to engage in various transactions. Should a person become a victim of identity theft, four steps are recommended for immediate action after the theft is discovered: place a fraud alert on credit reports to prevent the thief from opening any more accounts in the victim's name; close accounts known or believed to have been opened or compromised by the thief; file a report with the appropriate police agency; and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, which will facilitate broad investigative action. The booklet also explains how to prove that you are a victim of identity theft and what composes the identity theft report. A section on how to resolve specific problems focuses on various types of criminal action that have involved the thief's use of the victims' personal information. Another section of the booklet provides advice on how to monitor various events and records to ensure that the consequences of identity theft have been resolved and further activity of the thief has been thwarted. Suggestions for preventing a recurrence of identity theft conclude the booklet. Appended legislation relevant to identity theft and instructions for completing the ID theft affidavit