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Crime victims are typically treated with respect and sympathy for the horrendous injustice they've endured. Not so with an identity fraud victim because, on paper, you look like a deadbeat who doesn't pay his or her debts. Often, without warning, identity theft victims learn that their home loan requests are denied, credit card applications are rejected, and debt collectors have their phone number on speed dial. It's now up to them to prove that they didn't do anything wrong.
So how do you go about proving your innocence? First, you need to find and fill out the right documents. Second, you need to send them to the right people. Here are the three primary documents you need and who to send them to:
Police Report. File a police report in the city that the identity theft occurred. Get copies of the report and send one to each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. They will block the fraudulent claim charges from your credit reports. However, keep in mind that if they believe the block is placed in error, they have the right to remove it.
ID Theft Affidavit. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) developed the ID Theft Affidavit in cooperation with banks, credit grantors and consumer advocates with the intent of making a single reporting form that is accepted universally for ID theft. The completed Affidavit can be sent to the three credit reporting agencies mentioned above along with the police report. If you do not have a police report, it can be used by the agencies instead of the police report to begin the dispute investigation. A copy of the form is available on the FTC website.
Creditor Documentation. Most identity theft victims can successfully get accounts closed and debts dismissed by sending the ID Theft Affidavit (or the creditor's own fraud report document) along with a copy of the police report to each creditor. In return, insist on getting written confirmation from the creditor that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debt has been discharged. This letter is your best defense if errors reappear.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|