Top 10 Resources Every Victim of Identity Fraud Should Have
According to the Federal Trade Commission, as many as 9 million Americans may have been affected by identity theft in the last year alone. Identity theft is a serious crime in which someone steals another person's personal information or online identity. In most cases, fraudsters use the information to open accounts in the victim's name.
If you have been a victim of identity fraud or know someone who has been, these resources can help:
- http://www.idtheftcenter.org/ -- Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) is a non-profit organization that offers advocacy, as well as educational resources about identity theft. Here, you can find information about identity theft including information on how to avoid it. The website has a list of letter templates (http://www.idtheftcenter.org/artman2/publish/v_templates/index.shtml) that victims can use as well as local and state resources (http://www.idtheftcenter.org/map.html).
- http://www.privacyrights.org/identity.htm -- The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC) is a non-profit consumer organization that provides identity theft quizzes and fact sheets along with information for those who have already become the victims of identity theft.
- http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft// -- The FTC has a separate page about identity theft. Here you can learn about common crimes and cases of identity theft, as well as what the government is doing to prevent the crime and protect victims.
- Credit Bureaus Most people are not even aware of the fact that they have become victims of identity theft. The first sign often is new accounts opened in the victims name. You can find out whether someone has been using your name to open accounts by viewing your credit reports and looking for unrecognized accounts. You can get credit reports by contacting the credit bureaus: http://www.experiangroup.com/, http://www.equifax.com/home/, http://www.transunion.com/ and http://www.callcredit.co.uk/home.
- http://www.phonebusters.com/english/recognizeit_identitythetips.html -- PhoneBusters lists popular types of telephone fraud that scammers use to steal identities. This Canadian site tells consumers how to spot scams and also provides recent news releases about identity theft.
- http://www.ic3.gov/ -- The FBIs Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides information about online identity theft and allows you to file a claim against scammers who have targeted you.
- http://www.privcom.gc.ca/keyIssues/ki-qc/mc-ki-idt_e.asp -- In Canada, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada offers news releases about identity theft, information, resources, warnings about known scams being perpetuated on Canadians and other resources.
- http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/investigations/MailFraud/fraudschemes/mailtheft/IdentityTheft.aspx -- If you suspect that someone has gained or is trying to gain your personal information via the mail, consult the USPS website for information on preventing this type of crime.
- http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10064.html -- If someone is using your Social Security Number to open accounts in your name or cause problems, this site tells you what steps you can take.
- http://www.PInow.com If you have been the victim of identity theft, the police may have limited resources to dedicate to your case. If you, like many victims, have lost assets or title to your home as a result of a scammer, you may want to hire a PI to find the fraudster and also your assets. In some cases, if you act quickly, you can recover some or most of your assets before the criminal spends the money. Proving wrong-doing also can help you to argue your case with lenders and creditors. If you need to hire a PI, PInow.com can help you quickly locate qualified private investigators in your area.