Identity Theft: The Road to Recovery Isn’t Always Easy

Why Creditors Make Identity Theft Recovery So Darn Hard

In a perfect world, a victim of identity theft would be able to explain the situation to the defrauded creditors and have the nightmare simply washed away. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it usually works. Instead, many identity theft victims find themselves in the position of having to prove their case to the companies that issued the criminal credit, and even when the victim does that they often find themselves fighting an uphill battle.

Why Is It The Victims Responsibility?

You’re probably thinking that it’s ridiculous for a creditor to require the identity theft victim to jump through hoops to prove their case. After all, it’s the creditor who issued credit to the wrong person, shouldn’t it be their responsibility? Well, first, let’s look at it from the creditor’s point of view.

If creditors made it too easy to claim victimization by identity theft, anybody wishing to avoid payment of their debts could go around crying identity theft to their creditors. Because of this, some restrictive measures are certainly understandable.

However, that does not excuse some creditors from the horrible behavior demonstrated to some identity theft victims. Some creditors have been known to harass victims for payment even after the identity theft victim has shown them police reports, court rulings, etc.

Your Rights

It is important to remember that you are not responsible for any accounts that have been fraudulently opened in your name, regardless of what the creditor tries to tell you. If it’s a collection agency that keeps contacting you, make sure that you get the name of the collection agency, the name of the representative calling as well as the agency’s address and phone number.

Tell the collection agency that you have been the victim of identity theft and that you know for a fact that the agency is required to notify the creditor that the debt is a result of identity theft. Make sure you also put this statement in writing and send it to the collection agency along with a request that they send you a reply letting you know that the account has been closed and you do not owe the debt.

In some instances, you may need to retain an attorney to enforce your rights as an identity theft victim.

Comments

ALL Americans should have the right to put a freeze on their credit report. Why are the credit/data brokers allowed to PROFIT from selling this to a stranger WITHOUT our permission?
If you do not want strangers to be able to apply for (and get) credit in your name, read the following.

Ohio PIRG : Ask Congress to protect us from identity theft

Recently, the U.S. Veterans Administration admitted losing Social Security Numbers and birth dates of over 26 million veterans and some active
duty military personnel. Now, some in Congress want to use this as an excuse to pass a bad federal data privacy bill that takes away the identity theft rights of over 100 million Americans.

Please ask your Representative and Senators to support strong privacy legislation. Then, ask your friends and family to help by forwarding this e-mail to them.

To take action, click on this link or paste it into your web browser:

http://pirg.org/alerts/route.asp?id=1608&id4=ES


Background

Last month, the US Veterans Administration admitted that an employee had taken home a laptop, which was then stolen, containing the Social Security Numbers and birth dates of over 26 million veterans and even some active duty military personnel. With this information -- the "keys" to a consumer's financial identity -- an identity thief could easily open fraudulent accounts in a consumer's name.

Now, some in Congress want to pass weak legislation that would not result in consumers being notified of breaches, because it would let the
company or agency that lost the information decide if the threat is bad enough to tell us about it. Worse, the proposal that may come to the House floor as early as next week, HR 3997, would take away the right of 100 million Americans in 17 states to stop identity theft before it happens, with a security freeze.

The VA data loss is the latest in a series of nearly 100 reported breaches over the last 15 months, which started with the data broker ChoicePoint and includes Bank of America, Citigroup, DSW Shoe Warehouse and nearly one hundred other companies and agencies. We only know about these
breaches because of a pioneering PIRG-backed California law that
requires consumers be notified whenever their information is lost. Following PIRG campaigns, 23 other states have passed similar laws to warn consumers that the keys to their identity have been lost, so they can take
steps to protect themselves.

One of the most important steps that 100 million consumers in over 17
states can take, again following PIRG campaigns, is the right to place a
security freeze on their credit reports. When a thief applies for credit or a cell phone in your name, the creditor's request for a report is blocked and the application is rejected. It's the only guaranteed way
to prevent identity theft.

The very best of the state laws, including New Jersey's, allow you to place a freeze for free and to temporarily lift it (when you want to buy a car, for example) for only $5. New Jersey's law (which you can use already, but more slowly) includes a provision requiring the state to force the credit bureaus to speed up the temporary lift. New Jersey
residents will soon have the convenience of an "15 minute instant unfreeze"
to counter the "instant credit" that identity thieves take advantage of.

If the industry-backed bill, HR 3997, passes into law, it would only allow previous victims of identity theft to use a security freeze. That's like saying you cannot have a seatbelt until you've already been in a car crash. And, HR 3997 allows companies that lose information too much
discretion before deciding if they should warn us. Finally, it prevents, or preempts, all future identity theft and privacy leadership from the states. The full Senate is ready to consider a similar identity theft bill, S 1408, which includes a somewhat better security freeze
provision, but an equally anti-consumer data breach notice and state preemption section.

Please ask your Representative and Senators to support strong privacy legislation. Then, ask your friends and family to help by forwarding
this e-mail to them.

To take action, click on this link or paste it into your web browser:

http://pirg.org/alerts/route.asp?id=1608&id4=ES

Sincerely,

Erin Bowser
Ohio PIRG State Director
ErinB@ohiopirg.org
http://www.OhioPIRG.org

I just wanted you good folks to know that your effort is greatly appreciated. Often have I found Scam Busters to be the "7th Cav."! Thank you ! ...Steve

Please add my name to the petition.

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