Identity theft is when an individual uses your personal information to use your bank account, health care, insurance, or other monetary valuables without your consent. It is a federal crime and is punishable in a court of law.
You must report the identity theft to the concerned authorities. There were over 4.8 million cases of identity theft in 2020, which makes it an alarming situation.
Should You Report Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a serious criminal offense that can lead to several financial losses. It is because identity thieves steal your personal information and can manipulate this information to harm you and the others around you.
You may even land in legal trouble if these thieves use your personal information for immoral or illegal activities.
However, reporting identity theft to the police, credit card providers, and other important departments can benefit you in the long run. For example, any illegal activities from your info will not be credited to your name if you report them to the police.
Similarly, the credit providers will deactivate your card and your account, saving you from further financial losses.
However, learning how to report identity theft also matters. Therefore, we are going to mention the best approach for reporting identity theft ahead.
How to Report Identity Theft
You can report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. The authorities will collect your information and take care of your case accordingly.
You can report your identity theft by using the phone or e-mail. However, you do not get a report if you use the phone to file your report. Therefore, filing your complaint through e-mail is a better option. We also suggest creating an account on the IdentityTheft.gov site. Creating an account on the site will provide you with:
- Access to pre-written letters that you can send to creditors to fix accounts.
- Get a recovery plan to guide you through fixing problems caused by identity theft.
- Be able to track your progress in fixing problems that identity theft caused.
All of these things are quite beneficial in preventing identity theft cases in the future.
When to Report Identity Theft to the Police
Another option is reporting the identity theft to the local police. However, reporting identity theft to the police works a bit differently. You should only report the case to the police if:
- A creditor or another company requires you to provide a police report
- The thief used your name in an interaction with the police
- You know the identity thief
Types of Identity Theft
There are various kinds of identity theft that you could suffer. Understanding these types can help you determine the amount of risk you are at, and the right steps to take against it.
Medical Identity Theft
Medical identity theft is when someone uses your medical insurance credentials, to submit fake claims for medical expenses. This can disrupt your medical care and waste your hard-earned money. People who face this problem should reach out to Medicare’s fraud office if they have medicare for their medical coverage.
Tax Identity Theft
Tax identity theft includes fake claims for tax returns and can cost you thousands of dollars. You could end up losing all your tax file returns and your reputation as an honest tax filer if the fraud claim processes through. Therefore you should report the Internal Revenue Service.
Unemployment Identity Theft
Unemployment identity theft makes claims against your unemployment benefits (if you are applicable for it). It could land you in serious trouble because unemployed people do not have any other alternatives to take care of themselves financially. You should report these cases to the state’s labor department.
Other Reporting Options for Identity Theft
Interestingly, there are a few other departments where you can report identity theft. These organizations include the following:
Credit Reporting Agencies
You can get a report of your credit card history and request a freeze on your credit card by reaching out to the credit card reporting agencies.
National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center
The National Long Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center reports cases of identity theft due to a stay in a nursing home or long-term care facility. This applies to older individuals and people who cannot go out in the open.
Reporting identity theft is not difficult as you can do it over the phone or by e-mail, depending on your preference. However, you will get an online report through the e-mail filing. We suggest you follow the resources and the process we mentioned in this article to report identity theft efficiently.