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ICFE eNEWS #17-19 - May 22nd 2017

Federal Trade Commission Blog: "Most ID Theft Victims Don't Need a Police Report"

By Yan Ross, Director of Special Projects, ICFE

In a blog on the FTC web site posted in late April, Seena Gressin, an attorney in the Division of Consumer and Business Education, reported this update in FTC procedure:

"When it comes to reporting and recovering from identity theft, we're simplifying the process by eliminating the need for a police report in most cases."

The thrust of the report is to advise consumers. "In most cases, you can use your Identity Theft Report in place of a police report to clear your account and credit records of transactions that resulted from the identity theft."

Specific instructions and hyperlinks are provided to assist the consumer who has experienced identity theft in reporting and resolving the incident.

However, it is by no means clear that this procedure will be accepted by other parties which may be affected, such as financial institutions, retailers, and credit card companies. The comments from the public demonstrate the experience of individuals who have attempted to resolve identity theft incidents without providing such affected parties with police report information.

Even the FTC blog observes there are circumstances in which it may be advantageous to the consumer to complete a police report:

"Still, contact the police to report identity theft if:

  • you know the identity thief, or have other information that could help a police investigation
  • an identity thief used your name in a traffic stop or any encounter with police, or
  • a creditor, debt collector, or someone else affected by the identity theft insists that you produce a police report."

In response to numerous comments from consumers regarding their own difficult experiences in trying to resolve the identity theft without filing police reports, another representative of the FTC observed the following: "It's never harmful to get a police report, but it's not always necessary."

Where does that leave the consumer who's just learned of his or her own identity theft incident?

First, it is always advisable to file the online report with the FTC, and to follow the instructions provided on the agency web site. That way, the case will be included in the data base, as well as helping the FTC establish patterns of conduct that may be pursued to identify and take action against the identity thieves involved. By following the specific recommended steps for identity restoration, the consumer stands a good chance of minimizing the adverse effects of the identity theft incident.

Next, by applying appropriate knowledge with basic good sense, the consumer can evaluate whether a police report is necessary. Prompt notification to the other affected parties, such as financial institutions, retailers, or others involved in the identity theft incident, will also help the consumer determine whether such parties will take appropriate action with or without filing a police report.

Finally, the consumer should always monitor the completion of requested actions, such as account credit on disputed charges, correction of affected public or private personal records, and expunging erroneous information from official data bases.

It's important to note that these developments are all taking place on an ever-changing landscape, with the challenges by identity thieves and the responses by regulatory and law enforcement agencies requiring constant review and revision. Continued consumer education and informed compliance are the keys to successfully combatting this growing threat.


Yan Ross Bio PhotoYan Ross is ICFE's Director of Special Projects, and the author of the Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist ® XV CITRMS® course. As an accredited educator for over 20 years, he has addressed Identity Theft Risk Assessment and management for consumers, organizations holding personally identifiable information, and professionals who work with individuals and organizations who are at risk of falling victim to identity thieves.

The ICFE's Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist ® XV CITRMS® course is now available both in printed format and online.

The Textbook and Desk Reference edition of the course book is also available online. Bulk pricing and discounts for veterans and students available. Inquire at yan.ross@icfe.info

Paul S Richard PhotoICFE eNEWS is available FREE upon request by visiting our Web site and filling out the contact form, and selecting "Yes" for "Add to Mailing List. Please pass this eNEWS on to your peers and interested others and invite them to subscribe for free. Also, visit the ICFE's new Web site: StudentDebtHelp.org

Sent by:

Paul S. Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

About the ICFE:

The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation).  The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. 
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.

The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org).  CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed.  In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.

The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much.  ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.

Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org.  Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G,  a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.

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