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,
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
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."
and hyperlinks are provided to assist the consumer who has experienced
identity theft in reporting and resolving the incident.
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:
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
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.
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.
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.
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