Identity Theft Assistance Portal

Identity theft is a crime in which an impostor uses the name, social security number, and/or other identifying information of a victim to open credit accounts, use existing credit accounts, provide the victim's name to police during an arrest, or gain other benefits such a medical service, employment, or government benefits by using the victim's identity.

Identity Theft is the largest consumer complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) annually.  If you have been the victim of Identity Theft, or believe you may be the victim of Identity Theft, you may wish to start here:

Dealing with Identity Theft

 

Links to more information are available by clicking on the tabs above.

Table of Contents

  1. Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft Resource and Referral Guide
  2. Identity Theft in Idaho
  3. Types of Identity Theft
  4. Tools for Assisting Identity Theft Victims Presentation
  5. Identity Theft Card
  6. Identity Theft Victim's Complaint and Affidavit
  7. Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft
  8. Idaho Identity Theft Manual
  9. Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft
  10. Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud
  11. Videos Available to the Public
  12. Dealing with Identity Theft
  13. Protecting your Identity Online
  14. Have You Ever Wondered about Identity Theft?
  15. How to File an Identity Theft Complaint
  16. What to Do if your Identity has been Stolen:
  17. Privacy and Identity: What To Do If You're A Victim of Identity Theft

Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft Resource and Referral Guide

Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft seeks  to provide a coordinated community response to better assist victims of identity theft in our state.

 

WHAT VICTIMS CAN DO

 

Place a Fraud Alert on your credit reports by contacting one of the credit reporting agencies (“CRA’s”) listed on the back of this brochure. Request your free credit reports.

Call all companies where an account has been misused or opened fraudulently. Close or flag as necessary. Follow up in writing, enclosing an Affidavit. Call your financial institution to review your accounts for suspicious activity.

Report to the Federal Trade Commission. File a complaint online at www.ftc.gov. Enclose a copy of the complaint, called an ‘FTC Affidavit,’ with your letters to companies and CRAs. Provide a copy to the police if you file a police report.

File a report with Police. Request a police report even if they are unable to investigate further. Ask police to attach your FTC Affidavit to the report. To fix mistakes on your credit report, send a copy of the report to each CRA and any company that provided the inaccurate information.

CONTACT INFORMATION FOR ICAIT MEMBERS

Adult Protection Services, Area Agency on Aging, Area III

208-322-7033

https://aging.idaho.gov/aaa/PSA3.html

Adult Protection investigates allegations of exploitation of vulnerable adults 18 years of age and older. Works with law enforcement to substantiate crimes and has case managers who assist in obtaining support services for elderly clients. Cannot respond after hours but they do have an emergency hotline. Area III covers: Ada, Gem, Canyon, Owhyee, Elmore, Washington, Boise, Adams, Valley, & Payette counties.

Better Business Bureau

Snake River Region

1-800-218-1001

http://snake-river.bbb.org/

BBB staff can provide reference materials such as FTC pamphlets, general information and guidance on what to do if ID theft happens to you. The BBB conducts two free shred events every year to help consumers protect their personal information from ID thieves. BBB can do speaking engagements on Identity Theft for businesses and consumers as part of their ongoing outreach.

Idaho Attorney General’s Office

Consumer Protection Division

208-334-2424

www.ag.idaho.gov

AG’s office an answer basic consumer questions about Idaho’s identity theft laws and direct consumers to other resources, such as the FTC or law enforcement agencies. The consumer protection division publishes the Identity Theft Manual, available at www.ag.idaho.gov. The Division’s informal dispute resolution service assists in some situations with resolving identity theft-related disputes involving consumer reporting agencies or creditors. The AG’s office cannot give legal advice or representation to individual consumers; it’s primary service to the public concerning identity theft is education.

Idaho Department of Finance

208-332-8000

finance.idaho.gov

Idaho Department of Finance (DOF) staff provide guidance and referrals to citizens who may be victims of ID theft and information on how to protect one's self from ID theft. DOF staff can provide speakers to groups that are interested in booking presentations on ID theft or other financial services related topics. DOF may provide assistance when the ID theft involves a DOF licensee, such as regulated lenders, collection agencies, escrow agencies, mortgage brokers/lenders/loan originators, state-chartered banks and credit unions, credit counselors, debt settlement agencies, securities brokers/agents, money services businesses, and credit repair organizations (but not federally-chartered financial institutions).

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS)

IRS Identity Theft Hotline 1-800-908-4490

Taxpayer Advocate: 1-877-777-4778

www.irs.gov

Victims of identity theft are encouraged to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.

The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) assists with resolving tax problems  when normal IRS channels are not working for a consumer. 

United States Attorney’s Office

for the District of Idaho

www.justice.gov/usao/id/

The United States Attorney's Office (USAO) provides extensive services to individuals identified as victims in a case that the USAO is prosecuting, including:  notification of court proceedings, notification of victims’ rights, victim impact statements, referrals, and employer/creditor notification upon request. If an individual who is not an identified victim calls seeking information, they are provided limited information and appropriate referrals.  

Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc.

208-345-0106 (Boise Service office)

www.idaholegalaid.org

Staff has been trained to guide victims of identity theft. When a victim calls any of Idaho Legal Aid Services’ offices, they will be told steps they can take to solve their problem and will be referred to the FTC’s website for further information and to access the identity theft affidavit. Idaho Legal Aid Services does not currently have funding to represent victims of identity theft unless the victim falls under one of our grants that would qualify the client for extended services (e.g., low-income senior or low-income domestic violence victim).

Idaho State Tax Commission

208-334-7660

www.tax.idaho.gov

Staff can provide copies of IRS Victims Assistance brochures, Boise Police Department Identity Theft brochures, and the link to IRS form 14039. Commission staff can lock specific Idaho tax accounts to force validation of all returns filed for that Social Security n umber to prevent filing of false returns. Cannot disclose individual’s names or tax information to law enforcement; this information has to be requested by the individual who could then provide it to law enforcement. If the name on a filed tax return or W2 is different, the information on those documents cannot be disclosed, even to the proper owner of the Social Security number (the identity theft victim). Victims can request copies of all documents showing BOTH their name and SSN.

CREDIT REPORTING BUREAUS

 

Equifax

PO Box 740241

Atlanta, GA 30374

1-800-525-6285 (report fraud)

www.equifax.com

Experian

PO Box 9352

Allen, TX 750131-888-397-3742 (report fraud)

www.experian.com

Trans Union

PO Box 6790

Fullerton, CA 92834

1-800-680-7289 (report fraud)

www.transunion.com

FREE CREDIT REPORTS

 The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies-Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union– to provide a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months.  To order, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form (available at www.ftc.gov/credit) and mail it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service

PO Box 105281

Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

 

For more information about Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft

https://sites.google.com/a/idaholegalaid.org/idaho-coalition-against-identity-theft/

Or visit us on Facebook:

facebook.com/idahocoalitionagainstidtheft

 

 

This document was produced by Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc. under award # 2010-VF-GX-K030, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice in conjunction with the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center, Inc.

 

 

Identity Theft in Idaho

Finger PrintIn October 2011, Idaho Legal Aid Services (ILAS) was awarded funds to form the Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft (ICAIT) to serve Idaho identity theft victims. The Maryland Crime Victims' Resource Center awarded ILAS funds from the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime to form a statewide Coalition comprised of agencies, nonprofits, businesses and individuals to improve services and outcomes for identity victims, particularly seniors and “near seniors” age 50 and up.

One of ICAIT’s goals is to educate the public about identity theft and the needs of identity theft victims. Definitions of identity theft vary. Congress defined identity theft in the Fair Credit Reporting Act as “a fraud committed or attempted using the identifying information of another person without authority.” 15 USC § 1681a. Idaho law provides: “It is unlawful for any person to obtain or record personal identifying information of another person without the authorization of that person, with the intent that the information be used to obtain, or attempt to obtain, credit, money, goods or services without the consent of that person.” Idaho Code 18-3126.

Types of identity theft include:

  • Financial identity theft,the most common form, involves the unauthorized use of an individual’s personal information for financial gain. Thieves often use a victim’s existing account or open a new account(s) in their name. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the misuse of existing accounts makes up 75% of victim reports, with credit card accounts being the most commonly misused account. Credit card information is often stolen through skimming (using a data storage device when processing a card), phishing (pretending to be a financial institution to get account holders to reveal personal information) or card theft. Financial identity theft victims often face denial of credit, increased financial charges, inability to get a job, or even bankruptcy. To detect financial identity theft consumers should review statements for unusual activity and regularly check their credit reports for fraudulent accounts.
  • Criminal identity theft occurs when someone uses the victim’s name and information as his own during an encounter with law enforcement. This could lead to warrants issued in the victim’s name or entry of a guilty plea in their name. 
  • Medical identity theft involves the unauthorized use a victim’s name or health insurance information to obtain medical services. Victims often face costly medical bills or are unable to use health insurance benefits exhausted by the thief. A victim’s life can be put at risk due to the thief’s medical information being made part of their medical record, supplying care providers with inaccurate health related information.
  • Government identity theft occurs when an imposter supplies the information of another person to a government agency, such as the IRS, Social Security Administration, or Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to obtain work or benefits.
  • Synthetic identity theft is the use of a victim’s Social Security number with another name and date of birth to create a new, fictitious identity. Synthetic ID theft occurs where a thief does not have or want to use the victim’s other identifying information. This theft can be difficult to detect because new accounts and other suspicious activity may not appear on the victim’s credit report. 
  • Identity assumption is the impersonation of another person on the internet, with the “intent to obtain a benefit or injure or defraud another.” NY Penal Code § 190.25. An example is creating a Facebook account using another person’s name and photos. Identity assumption has only been specifically addressed in California and New York state law. 

Victims of the different kinds of identity theft typically require different relief.

Financial identity theft victims often need help negotiating with creditors to close or freeze accounts and stop collection on fraudulent accounts. They may need assistance contacting credit reporting agencies to get a Fraud Alert placed on their credit reports. A Fraud Alert signals potential creditors that someone else is using that consumer’s identity and requires additional steps to confirm an individual’s identity before issuing new credit. It also entitles the victim to a free credit report. An advocate can further assist a victim by helping them review their credit report to find suspicious activity and dispute fraudulent charges. 

Financial identity theft victims should file an Identity Theft Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit (Complaint) with the FTC, https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/,  or 1-877-438-4338. This is an important tool because it collects critical information in a standardized format that is widely accepted by creditors and credit reporting agencies when victims dispute debts. When the Complaint is combined with a police report it becomes an “Identity Theft Report.”  An Identity Theft Report allows a victim to: block fraudulent information from appearing on her credit report; prevent a creditor from reporting fraudulent information to a credit reporting agency; prevent a creditor from placing the debt into collection; obtain transaction documents (such as applications completed by the thief); and place a seven year fraud alert on the victim’s credit reports. 

Victims of criminal identity theft should contact local law enforcement to request fingerprints and photos for comparison with the identity thief. After providing law enforcement with proof of identity they can request a letter of clearance from the police to provide to businesses, agencies, and data brokers. Criminal identity theft victims may also need attorney assistance to get criminal charges expunged from their record.

Medical identity theft victims should file a report with local police and get a copy of the report. The victim will want to contact their health care providers and make requests (not mentioning the issue of identity theft) to obtain their medical records. Review of the records should enable the victim to identify imposter records.  The victim/advocate can contact each provider who gave care to the thief to request correction and flagging of the records. It is good practice to confirm that records have been corrected.

Victims of governmental identity theft should begin by contacting the government agency at issue. The Internal Revenue Service, United States Postal Service, Social Security Administration, and several other governmental entities have units devoted to the issue of identity theft. A victim should request to speak to the unit that assists identity theft victims to determine how to proceed. It is also beneficial to request a copy of the agency’s records for the victim, so that imposter activity can be identified and reported.

Identity theft victims do not just suffer financial loss. According to the National Crime Victim Victimization Survey, 53% of identity theft victims feel moderate to severe distress from the theft.[1]  As this crime continues to grow in Idaho, it is important to understand all aspects of prevention and recovery. We need to look at the existing resources and determine where there are gaps in services and how we can improve on a statewide, system-wide, local, and agency level to provide the best possible outcomes for identity theft victims. The goal of ICAIT is to bring together stakeholders, remove service barriers, develop resources, and create a network that supports victims to recover. If you are interested in participating on the ICAIT, please contact ILAS at 208-345-0106. 

Sunrise Ayers, Staff Attorney and Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft Project Director, sunriseayers@idaholegalaid.org

 

This document was produced by Idaho Legal Aid Services, Inc. under award # 2010-VF-GX-K030, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice in conjunction with the Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this document are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice or Maryland Crime Victims’ Resource Center, Inc.


[1]   Langton, L. & Planty, M. (2010). Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, National Crime Victim Victimization Survey Supplement, Victims of Identity Theft 2008. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Through http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=42.

 

Types of Identity Theft

Financial: 

Using another’s information/identity in order to obtain credit, goods, or services.

Criminal:

Using another’s information/identity when apprehended for a crime;i.e.,a person stopped by law enforcement supplies another person’s name.

Governmental:

Supplying another’s information to a government agency;e.g.,giving another person’s information to the IRS.

Medical:

Receiving medical care or drugs using another person’s information or identity.

 EXAMPLES OF COMMON VICTIM IMPACT ISSUES

  • Increased prevalence of ID theft crimes: 9.6 million new victims in 2010
  • Time spent working to resolve the financial and credit problems by the victim
    •  20% of surveyed victims spent more than a month from the discovery of the ID theft trying to clear up the problems.
  • Ongoing victimization
    • 3% of victims surveyed in the 2008 Identity Theft Supplement to the National Crime victimization Survey reported experiencing problems related to the theft more than 6 months after discovering it.
  • Child identity theft a growing problem, especially among foster children
  • Interfamilial/caregiver ID theft among elderly populations
  • Lack of social support
    • Victim may suffer related mental distress w/out support
    • Victim may need assistance with paperwork requirements (e.g., sending in all documents by certified mail), but may not have anyone available to assist him
  • Financial losses (62% of ID theft victims reported direct or indirect financial losses). 
    • No restitution under Idaho law
  • 2 out of 10 ID theft victims rated the experience as “severely distressing”
  • Not understanding their rights as victims in the criminal proceedings

Tools for Assisting Identity Theft Victims Presentation

Identity Theft Card

 

Some Resources for Victims:

ICAIT Website: https://sites.google.com/a/idaholegalaid.org/idaho-coalition-against-identity-theft/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/idahocoalitionagainstidtheft

Federal Trade Commission website: http://www.idtheft.gov

 

What Victims can do:

  1. Place a Fraud Alerton your credit reports by contactingoneof the credit reporting agencies (CRAs) listed below. Request your free credit reports.
  2. Call all companies where an account has been misused or opened fraudulently. Close or flag as necessary. Follow up in writing, enclosing an Affidavit. Call your financial institution to review your accounts for suspicious activity.
  3. Report to the Federal Trade Commission. File a complaint online at www.ftc.gov.  Enclose a copy, called an ‘FTC Affidavit,’ with your letters to companies and CRAs. Provide a copy to the police if you file a police report.
  4. File a report with Police. Ask them to attach your FTC Affidavit to the report. To fix mistakes on your credit report, send a copy to each CRA and the companies that provided the inaccurate information.

CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES

Equifax 800-525-6285 • Trans Union 800-680-7289 • Experian 888-397-3742

Identity Theft Victim's Complaint and Affidavit

A voluntary form for filing a report with law enforcement and disputes with credit reporting agencies and creditors about identity theft-related problems. Visit ftc.gov/idtheft to use a secure online version that you can print for your records.

Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, date of birth, or other identifying information, without authority, to commit fraud. For example, someone may have committed identity theft by using your personal information to open a credit card account or get a loan in your name. For more information, visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft or write to: FTC, Consumer Response Center, Room 130-B, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C., 20580. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) gives you specific rights when you are, or believe that you are, the victim of identity theft. Here is a brief summary of the rights designed to help you recover from identity theft...

Idaho Identity Theft Manual

Identity theft is a serious and rapidly growing problem. In 2004 the Federal Trade Commission received 600 identity theft complaints from Idaho victims. This is up from 493 victims in 2003 and 361 victims in 2002. Credit card theft was the number one identity theft type reported by Idaho victims. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of becoming a victim. You can protect yourself by understanding how identity theft is perpetrated, by understanding your rights and by making informed and intelligent decisions.

Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft

In the course of a busy day, you may write a check at the grocery store, charge tickets to a ball game, rent a car, mail your tax returns, change service providers for your cell phone, or apply for a credit card. Chances are you don’t give these everyday transactions a second thought. But an identity thief does.
Identity theft is a serious crime. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years – and thousands of dollars – cleaning up the mess the thieves have made of a good name and credit record. In the meantime, victims of identity theft may lose job opportunities, be refused loans for education, housing, or cars, and even get arrested for crimes they didn’t commit. Humiliation, anger, and frustration are among the feelings victims experience as they navigate the process of rescuing their identity...

Avoiding Credit and Charge Card Fraud

Credit and charge card fraud costs cardholders and issuers hundreds of millions of dollars each year. While theft is the most obvious form of fraud, it can occur in other ways. For example, someone may use your card number without your knowledge. It’s not always possible to prevent credit or charge card fraud from happening. But there are a few steps you can take to make it more difficult for a crook to capture your card or card numbers and minimize the possibility...

Videos Available to the Public

Assisting Victims of Identity Theft: A Free CLE Presented by the Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft

This is a video of the CLE presented on April 30, 2012 by the Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft to provide information and tips for attorneys representing victims of identity theft. Stephanie Guyon of the Idaho Attorney General’s Office discussed civil remedies and legal steps to take to protect a client’s identity and credit. Patrick Costello of the University of Idaho, discussed victim rights in criminal prosecutions and how to provide counsel and advocacy for victims throughout the criminal justice process. To request a free copy of this video, send an email to sunriseayers@idaholegalaid.org with “ID Theft CLE Video” as the subject line. (Note, we are not providing or tracking CLE credits for persons we mail the video to; a video version of the presentation may be available for CLE credit through the Idaho State Bar).

Boise Identity Theft Seminar

This is a video of the half-day seminar presented on August 30, 2012 by the Idaho Coalition Against Identity Theft for the general public. Topics covered were: an overview of the crime of identity theft and how it impacts victims, steps to take if your identity is stolen, tax identity theft, prevention tips from the Better Business Bureau, credit repair, and a Q&A session with panel members. To request a free copy of this video, send an email to sunriseayers@idaholegalaid.org with “Boise ID Theft Seminar Video” as the subject line.

Dealing with Identity Theft

What is Identity Theft?
Identity Theft is the largest consumer complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) annually.  If you have been the victim of identity theft, it could mean someone has used your name to:

  • make purchases
  • get credit cards
  • rent an apartment or
  • obtain utilities without your permission

Protecting your Identity Online

It's important to protect your personal information, and to take certain steps quickly to minimize the potential damage from identity theft if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen...

Have You Ever Wondered about Identity Theft?

Identity theft is when someone uses your personal information without your permission to obtain goods, services, or money. Your personal information includes: your name, address, social security number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, mother’s maiden name, or other identifying information. Identity theft is a crime. Idaho Code 18-3126 governs identity theft and states that if the value of loss due to identity theft exceeds $300, then the theft is considered a felony. The punishment for felony identity theft is 5 years in prison and / or a $50,000 fine.

How to File an Identity Theft Complaint

Filing a complaint with the FTC is one of several important steps that victims of identity theft should take. The links below will walk you how to file a complaint with the FTC, and how you can get the protections that you, as a victim of ID theft, may be entitled to.

What to Do if your Identity has been Stolen:

This website is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft.

Privacy and Identity: What To Do If You're A Victim of Identity Theft

The immediate steps a victim should take to limit the damage caused by an identity thief.