How to Report Identity Theft to the Police

By Tess Miller
Identity theft is a major problem in the United States.

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According to the Federal Trade Commission, 8.3 million people were victims of identity theft in 2005. Only 26 percent of those victims reported the crime to the police.Filing a police report can help block false information from your credit report, protect you from debt collection related to the identity theft, and put a fraud alert on your credit report.

How to Report Identity Theft to the Police

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defines identity theft as occurring when someone uses your credit cards or other personal information without your consent, to commit crimes or perpetrate fraud in your name.

If you stop receiving your bills, notice unexplained charges on your credit card, or if you suddenly have difficulty obtaining credit, you should secure a copy of your credit report to determine if there is a problem. If you suspect identity theft, you need to report it to the FTC and to the police.

File a complaint with the FTC online, by phone, or through the mail, before filing a police report. The FTC complaint form is more detailed than a police report and the additional information will help the police officer file a complete report. Download a complaint form on the FTC website at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov.

Call your local police department and ask to file a police report for identity theft. Ask if you can file the report in person. If you cannot file in person, see if you can file over the phone or online.

If your local police station will not let you file a report, try the county or state police. If the police inform you that identity theft is not a crime in your state, ask to file a miscellaneous incident report instead.

Gather together the FTC complaint and all credit reports, bills, financial statements, and financial documents related to the crime. Be thorough. The more information you can provide; the stronger your case.

Make several copies of each document. You will need to provide one copy of each document to the police as proof of identity theft. Keep the originals and at least one copy for your records. Your creditors have 15 days following the receipt of your identity theft report to request any additional proof or documentation not included in your report.

Go to police station to file the Federal Trade Commission complaint. Provide copies of credit card bills, bank statements, credit reports, and any other documentation that might prove your case.

Ask police officer for a copy of completed police report. If the police officer cannot make a copy of the police report, ask for the police report number and have the officer sign your copy of the FTC complaint. Add the police report to your FTC complaint to create a completed identity theft report.

About the Author

Tess Miller has been a freelance writer since 2002. Her work has appeared in "The Front Range Review" and "Memoirs INK." She has worked in the nonprofit sector as a grant writer, fundraiser and literacy advocate. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in health and human services from the University of Massachusetts.

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