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Results from an updated survey co-released by Javelin Strategy and Research and the Better Business Bureau (2006 Identity Fraud Survey Report), indicated that the average amount of time identity theft victims spend reporting credit and identity fraud issues is 40 hours. That's up from 28 hours in 2005.
Why does it take so much time? Part of the reason is that it is often difficult to determine the depth and breadth of the damage, and conducting the identity theft research needed to thoroughly discover the total extent of the fraudulent acts can be a daunting task. Add to this uncertainty the fact that, on average, it takes as long as 12 months for victims to realize they are victims, and the time-intensive work to unravel the unknowns suddenly begins to make sense. And, to add insult to injury, typically, the discovery comes at critical financial times, like when applying for a new home loan or to purchase a new car.
Since reporting and recovering from ID theft doesn't happen with one phone call, victims end up making call after call, filing report after report, following up every conversation in writing, and keeping meticulous records of names and contact information of everyone they speak with and every action taken.
Depending on the extent of the identity theft crime, the procedures for filing reports can be exhaustive. For a comprehensive list of who to contact and how, use the guide and instructions found through the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse online.