When you fall victim to identity theft, what is your first instinct? To call the police or your bank? Most people first notice identity theft when there has been a fraudulent charge to their bank account, so their first action is simply to call the bank. Often, this can be resolved, but in extreme cases of identity theft, it takes more than a simple call to the bank.
The Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission receives more and more calls regarding identity theft every year. In 2015, they had almost half a million phone calls on the topic, which was a 50 percent increase compared to 2014, and is exponentially higher than the just over 30,000 calls they received in 2000. Although these numbers are large, they are not near the estimated 17.6 million Americans who fall victim to identity theft ever year. Few call the Federal Trade Commission, and only 1 in 10 actually phone the police.
One reason that people are not contacting the government regarding this issue is that identity theft is a category that covers a variety of actual actions, including creating new accounts in someone else’s name, using someone else’s credit cards or bank accounts, or actually pretending to be someone else. Because the majority of cases were fraud against exciting cases (around 80 percent), most people simply let their financial institutions handle it.
Trying to Resolve Identity Theft
For those who fall victim to the more complex identity theft cases, especially when someone actually takes over another person’s identity, it can take years and a significant amount of money for the case to be handled. Even then, it can have far reaching implications, affecting their ability to get a job or credit in the future. The FTC is trying to help change this. That is why they have created a new website for the agency, IdentityTheft.gov, that provides help for victims of identity theft.
FTC’s New Website for ID Theft
On this new website, consumers can file complaints or simply look for help. A consumer who has experienced identity theft can create a personalized plan to fix their problem and regain control of their identity, including bank accounts and personal information. There is also a significant amount of helpful information that can teach users how to prevent it from happening in the future. Consumer also can go through a series of questions to discover how their identity was most likely stolen in the first pace. You can even find pre-form letters that you can personalize to send to credit agencies, banks, and other agencies about the identity theft to try to minimize any damage.
Although this website has a substantial amount of beneficial information, some victims of identity theft will still want to look for professional resolution companies to help them navigate through this often complex procedure. Some businesses and banks that are compromised offer free services to their customers, and you can also find private organizations that will provide comprehensive services to help you regain control of your identity. It may cost you money, but letting an expert handle it may ensure you get the positive resolution you want. Regardless, this new website will make it easy for people to file complains about an identity theft case and find beneficial information from a trusted resource, the Federal Trade Commission.