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Identity Theft: FTC’s Program for Victim Assistance.

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Presentation on theme: "Identity Theft: FTC’s Program for Victim Assistance."— Presentation transcript:

1 Identity Theft: FTC’s Program for Victim Assistance

2 What is Identity Theft? u When someone else uses your personally identifying information without your knowledge or permission to  Obtain Credit Cards  Get Wireless or phone products, services  Get Loans and Mortgages  Obtain Employment  Commit Many Other Frauds

3 How Does an Identity Thief Get Your Information? u Stealing files from places where you work, go to school, shop, get medical services, bank, etc. u Stealing your wallet or purse u Stealing information from your home or car u Stealing from your mail or from mail in transit u Calling you or sending an with a bogus promise or purpose

4 Techniques Identity Thieves Use to Get Information u Dumpster Diving u Shoulder Surfing u Breaking & Entry u Bribing or inserting corrupt employees  Steal files  Run unauthorized credit checks u Skimming u Hacking u Pretexting  Credit reports  Solicitations  Web sites

5 How Does an Identity Theft Use Your Information? u Obtains Credit Cards in your name or makes charges on your existing accounts (42%) u Obtains Wireless or telephone equipment or services in your name (20%) u Forges checks, makes unauthorized EFTs, or open bank accounts in your name (13%) u Works in your name (9%) u Obtains personal, student, car and mortgage loans, or cashes convenience checks, in your name (7%)

6 Other Uses of your Personal Information u Commits crimes in your name (2%) u Gets medical services in your name (2%) u Gets Internet services or sends s in your name (1%) u Leases an apartment or house in your name (1%) u Files bankruptcy in your name (.5%)

7 Consequences of Identity Theft u Identity thief seldom pays bills for debts incurred under your name u You may not discover for months or years u You are then saddled with bad credit report u Due to bad credit report, you may be denied new credit, loans, mortgages, utility service, or employment u Where criminal record created in your name, you may fail background checks for employment, firearms, etc., may even spend time in jail

8 The FTC’s Role in IDT Under the ID Theft Act, the FTC is required to: Create a database of victims’ complaints u Provide helpful information to victims of identity theft u Refer victims complaints to:  law enforcement agencies  credit bureaus

9 Core Components of FTC’s Identity Theft Program u Toll-free phone number for victims ID THEFT ( ) u Web site: u Consumer education materials u Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse  Consumer Sentinel Access  Case Referral Program

10 FTC Hotline Phone Counselors Assist Victims u Advise consumers  how to minimize risks  what first steps to take to recover  subsequent steps, referrals to other government agency resources u Send out educational materials u Log consumer complaint information into the ID Theft database

11 FTC’s Outreach & Consumer Education u u Booklets u Links u Complaint form u ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name u u I-877-ID THEFT u Bulk orders:

12 How Can You Protect Yourself from ID Theft? u Today:  Order your credit reports – review carefully  Put passwords on your accounts v Strong passwords – not Mothers Maiden Name  Secure your personal information in your home from others (roommates, employees)  Ask about security procedures in your workplace

13 Other Steps You Can Take To Prevent Identity Theft u Ongoing Basis:  Order your credit report every year  Do not provide personal information over the phone, Internet, or through the mail v Thieves pose as reps from banks, ISPs, gov’t agencies v Scams presented as reasonable mistake regarding your account  Guard mail and trash from theft  Pay attention to billing cycles  Be wary of promotional scams  Keep your virus protection software updated

14 What Should Victims Do? u Immediately:  Call fraud departments of CRAs and get fraud alerts and victim statements placed on credit reports, ask for free credit report  Contact creditors’ fraud departments, report fraudulent accounts and charges (ask if they accept IDT Affidavit, if not, ask for their fraud packet)  Report to local police, get copy of report (be persistent)

15 Next Steps for Victims u Notify each credit reporting agency of all of the inaccuracies on your credit reports, including Inquiries. Call and follow up in writing. u Notify each creditor where the identity thief committed fraud in writing. u Get creditors to provide you something in writing stating they have closed the accounts and absolved you of the fraudulent debts

16 New Tool: ID Theft Affidavit u Standard form to dispute in writing the charges caused by identity thief u Asks creditors to absolve victim of all charges u Victim can submit one form to many creditors, instead of separate, different forms to each creditor. u Available at or 877-ID-THEFT or from many

17 How To Fill Out the Affidavit u Fill out the core information  Your name, address, etc. and where you lived at the time of the fraud events  What you know about how the fraud occurred u Attach documentation if available  Photo id, proof of residency when the fraud occurred, and police report u Complete Individual Fraudulent Account Statements for Each Company Involved  Tells each company which account you need to have closed and the debt absolved

18 Where to Send the Affidavit u Each company where the id thief opened an account in your name gets the core information u A particular company gets only the Fraud Account Statement listing the account opened at that company u Credit Reporting Agencies get core information and Fraud Account Statements for all companies u PLEASE do not send to the FTC

19 New Initiative: Police Report Initiative If Victim Provides CRAs with Police Report: u CRAs will block the inaccurate information on victim’s credit report resulting from identity theft u Thus, when victim’s credit report is sent out, it will be correct  Victims won’t be denied jobs, credit etc. because of the id thief

20 SUMMARY: PROVING YOU ARE A VICTIM u Get Police Report; send to CRAs, attach to Affidavit u Complete ID Theft Affidavit or other fraud packets; send to creditors u Get creditors to provide you resolution letters u Organize your documents, keep copies

21 Victim of Identity Theft FTC Identity Theft Hotline IDT Data Clearinghouse Law Enforcement Referral (USSS Task Forces) If Investigated Internet Database Access WHAT HAPPENS TO CONSUMER COMPLAINTS

22 Investigations Coordinating Efforts u Among many partners  Federal Agencies  State/Local Gov’t  Private Sector u On many fronts  Data sharing  Case Referrals

23 FTC’s Law Enforcement Coordination u Information shared with local, state and federal law enforcement through: ******CONSUMER SENTINEL******  Law Enforcement Cyber-Tool  Real-time, desktop access through a secure website  Coordinate cross-jurisdictional investigations with “ALERTS” function  Track particular complaints or patterns with “AUTO-QUERY.”  Contacts and Resources

24 Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse u Federal government’s centralized database of identity theft victim complaints  Available free of cost over Sentinel Network u Sources: FTC Hotline, online complaint form, Social Security OIG u Contents  victim contact information  suspect information: name address phone relation  description of crime, details  what financial institutions were involved  police report number, department name

25 FTC and US Secret Service Case Referral Program u Partnership formed in May 2001 u One (1) Special Agent assigned to FTC on a Full Time basis u Mine and Cluster significant trend info within the IDT database u Refine extracted info through additional databases u Package and refer to USSS led task forces and other law enforcement agencies nationwide

26 SUMMARY Resources for consumers: u u ID THEFT ( ) u When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name u ID Theft Affidavit u Police Report Initiative u

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