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Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft

Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft

The blocking process is

The blocking process is only one way for identity theft victims to deal withfraudulent information. There’s also the “reinvestigation process,” whichwas designed to help all consumers dispute errors or inaccuracies on theircredit reports. For more information on this process, see How to DisputeCredit Report Errors and Your Access to Free Credit Reports, two publicationsfrom the FTC at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.SAMPLE BLOCKING LETTER –CONSUMER REPORTING COMPANYDateYour NameYour AddressYour City, State, Zip CodeComplaint DepartmentName of Consumer Reporting CompanyAddressCity, State, Zip CodeDear Sir or Madam:I am a victim of identity theft. I am writing to request that you block thefollowing fraudulent information in my file. This information does notrelate to any transaction that I have made. The items also are circled onthe attached copy of the report I received. (Identify item(s) to be blockedby name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item,such as credit account, judgment, etc.)Enclosed is a copy of the law enforcement report regarding my identitytheft. Please let me know if you need any other information from me toblock this information on my credit report.Sincerely,Your nameEnclosures: (List what you are enclosing.)18 Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft

Information Provider ObligationsInformation providers stop reporting fraudulent information to the consumerreporting companies once you send them an identity theft report and a letterexplaining that the information they’re reporting resulted from identity theft.But you must send your identity theft report and letter to the address specifiedby the information provider. Note that the information provider may continueto report the information if it later learns that the information does not resultfrom identity theft.If a consumer reporting company tells an information provider that it hasblocked fraudulent information in your credit report, the information providermay not continue to report that information to the consumer reporting company.The information provider also may not hire someone to collect the debt thatrelates to the fraudulent account, or sell that debt to anyone else who wouldtry to collect it.CREDIT CARDSThe Fair Credit Billing Act establishes procedures for resolving billing errorson your credit card accounts, including fraudulent charges on your accounts.The law also limits your liability for unauthorized credit card charges to $50per card. To take advantage of the law’s consumer protections, you must:• write to the creditor at the address given for “billing inquiries,” NOT theaddress for sending your payments. Include your name, address, accountnumber, and a description of the billing error, including the amount anddate of the error. A sample letter is on page 20.• send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the firstbill containing the error was mailed to you. If an identity thief changed theaddress on your account and you didn’t receive the bill, your dispute letterstill must reach the creditor within 60 days of when the creditor would havemailed the bill. This is one reason it’s essential to keep track of your billingstatements, and follow up quickly if your bills don’t arrive on time.You should send your letter by certified mail, and request a return receipt.It becomes your proof of the date the creditor received the letter. Includecopies (NOT originals) of your police report or other documents thatsupport your position. Keep a copy of your dispute letter.The creditor must acknowledge your complaint in writing within 30 days afterreceiving it, unless the problem has been resolved. The creditor must resolvethe dispute within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after receivingyour letter.For more information, see Fair Credit Billing and Avoiding Credit and ChargeCard Fraud, two publications from the FTC at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft 19

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