Instructions for Completing the ID Theft Affidavit
To make certain that you do not become responsible for any debts incurred by an identity thief, you must prove to each of the companies where accounts were opened or used in your name that you didn't create the debt. A group of credit grantors, consumer advocates, and attorneys at the Federal Trade Commission(FTC) developed an ID Theft Affidavit to make it easier for fraud victims to report information. While many companies accept this affidavit, others require that you submit more or different forms. Before you send the affidavit, contact each company to find out if they accept it. It will be necessary to provide the information in this affidavit anywhere a new account was opened in your name. The information will enable the companies to investigate the fraud and decide the outcome of your claim. If someone made unauthorized charges to an existing account, call the company for instructions. This affidavit has two parts:
- Part One — the ID Theft Affidavit — is where you report general information about yourself and the theft.
- Part Two — the Fraudulent Account Statement — is where you describe the fraudulent account(s) opened in your name.
Use a separate Fraudulent Account Statement for each company you need to write to. When you send the affidavit to the companies, attach copies (NOT originals) of any supporting documents (for example, driver's license or police report). Before submitting your affidavit, review the disputed account(s) with family members or friends who may have information about the account(s) or access to them. Complete this affidavit as soon as possible. Many creditors ask that you send it within two weeks. Delays on your part could slow the investigation.
Be as accurate and complete as possible. You may choose not to provide some of the information requested. However, incorrect or incomplete information will slow the process of investigating your claim and absolving the debt. Print clearly. When you have finished completing the affidavit, mail a copy to each creditor, bank, or company that provided the thief with the unauthorized credit, goods, or services you describe.
Attach a copy of the Fraudulent Account Statement with information only on accounts opened at the institution to which you are sending the packet, as well as any other supporting documentation you are able to provide.
Send the appropriate documents to each company by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can prove that it was received.
The companies will review your claim and send you a written response telling you the outcome of their investigation.
Keep a copy of everything you submit.
If you are unable to complete the affidavit, a legal guardian or someone with power of attorney may complete it for you.
Except as noted, the information you provide will be used only by the company to process your affidavit, investigate the events you report and help stop further fraud.
If this affidavit is requested in a lawsuit, the company might have to provide it to the requesting party. Completing this affidavit does not guarantee that the identity thief will be prosecuted or that the debt will be cleared.
If you haven't already done so, report the fraud to the following organizations:
- CREDIT BUREAUS
Any one of the nationwide credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. The credit bureau you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too.
In addition to placing the fraud alert, the three major credit bureaus companies will send you free copies of your credit reports, and, if you ask, they will display only the last four digits of your Social Security number on your credit reports.
- SECURITY OR FRAUD DEPARTMENT
The security or fraud department of each company where you know, or believe, accounts have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Close the accounts. Follow up in writing, and include copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. It's important to notify credit card companies and banks in writing. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. Keep a file of your correspondence and enclosures. When you open new accounts, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
- LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT
Your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place to file a report. Get a copy of the police report or, at the very least, the number of the report. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime. If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incidents" report, or try another jurisdiction, like your state police. You also can check with your state Attorney General's office to find out if state law requires the police to take reports for identity theft. Check the Blue Pages of your telephone directory for the phone number or check www.naag.org for a list of state attorneys general.
- FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
The Federal Trade Commission. By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down and stop identity thieves. The FTC also can refer victims' complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action as well as investigate companies for violations of laws that the FTC enforces.
You can file a complaint online at www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/. If you don't have Internet access, call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: (877) ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: (866) 653-4261; or write:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580.
FTC's Affidavit Kit