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Imagine being pulled over by law enforcement because your taillight is burned out. After handing the officer your license and registration, you wait patiently for the routine ID check so you can be on your way, with a citation to get the light fixed. But, instead of sending you on your way, the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle, places you in handcuffs and informs you that you are under arrest. If you're a law-abiding citizen without so much as a single traffic violation to your name, chances are that you are the victim of criminal fraud.
One of the more devastating types of identity theft is when someone is arrested for a crime and uses your name and personal information when booked. Suddenly, you have a criminal record to clean up, could find yourself unjustly jailed, and it will be your responsibility to prove your innocence. While this might make a compelling script for a television movie, cases of identity theft involving criminal violations can quickly become a real-life nightmare for the victim.
The steps to expunge your criminal record vary depending on the state you live in. However, the first order of action is to file an impersonation report with the police department and provide all requested documentation, including a photo and fingerprints, to verify your identity so it can be compared with the original arrest report of the impostor. Once you are issued a clearance letter, you will need to keep the document with you at all times in case you are wrongly arrested again.
For more information about proper procedures, contact your state Attorney General's office.