Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft
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Para informacion en espanol, visite
o escribe a la Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street N.W., Washington, DC
You are receiving this information because you have notified a consumer reporting
agency that you believe that you are a victim 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
or write to: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1700 G Street N.W., Washington, DC
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.
You have the right to ask that nationwide consumer reporting agencies place
"fraud alerts" in your file to let potential creditors and others
know that you may be a victim of identity theft.
A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name
because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you. It also may
delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a fraud alert in your file by
calling just one of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies. As soon as
that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two, which then
also must place fraud alerts in your file.
An initial fraud alert stays in your file for at least 90 days. An
extended alert stays in your file
for seven years. To place either of these alerts, a consumer reporting agency will
require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your
Social Security number. If you ask for an
extended alert, you will have to
provide an identity theft report. An
identity theft report includes a
copy of a report you have filed with a federal, state, or local law enforcement
agency, and additional information a consumer reporting agency may require you to
submit. For more detailed information about the
identity theft report, visit
You have the right to free copies of the information in your file (your
An initial fraud alert entitles
you to a copy of all the information in your file at each of the three nationwide
agencies, and an extended alert
entitles you to two free file disclosures in a 12-month period following the
placing of the alert. These additional disclosures may help you detect signs of
fraud, for example, whether fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name or
whether someone has reported a change in your address. Once a year, you also have
the right to a free copy of the information in your file at any consumer reporting
agency, if you believe it has inaccurate information due to fraud, such as identity
theft. You also have the ability to obtain additional free file disclosures under
other provisions of the FCRA. See
You have the right to obtain documents relating to fraudulent transactions
made or accounts opened using your personal information.
A creditor or other business must give you copies of applications and other
business records relating to transactions and accounts that resulted from the theft
of your identity, if you ask for them in writing. A business may ask you for proof
of your identity, a police report, and an affidavit before giving you the
documents. It may also specify an address for you to send your request. Under
certain circumstances, a business can refuse to provide you with these documents.
You have the right to obtain information from a debt collector.
If you ask, a debt collector must provide you with certain information about the
debt you believe was incurred in your name by an identity thief - like the name of
the creditor and the amount of the debt.
If you believe information in your file results from identity theft, you have
the right to ask that a consumer reporting agency block that information from
An identity thief may run up bills in your name and not pay them. Information about
the unpaid bills may appear on your consumer report. Should you decide to ask a
consumer reporting agency to block the reporting of this information, you must
identify the information to block, and provide the consumer reporting agency with
proof of your identity and a copy of your
identity theft report. The
consumer reporting agency can refuse or cancel your request for a block if, for
example, you don't provide the necessary documentation, or where the block results
from an error or a material misrepresentation of fact made by you. If the agency
declines or rescinds the block, it must notify you. Once a debt resulting from
identity theft has been blocked, a person or business with notice of the block may
not sell, transfer, or place the debt for collection.
You also may prevent businesses from reporting information about you to
consumer reporting agencies if you believe the information is a result of
To do so, you must send your request to the address specified by the business that
reports the information to the consumer reporting agency. The business will expect
you to identify what information you do not want reported and to provide an
identity theft report.
To learn more about identity theft and how to deal with its consequences, visit
or write to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You may have additional rights
under state law. For more information, contact your local consumer protection agency or
your state Attorney General.
In addition to the new rights and procedures to help consumers deal with the effects of
identity theft, the FCRA has many other important consumer protections. They are
described in more detail at