Identity theft is the criminal use of an individual's personal identification information. Identity thieves steal information such as your name, social security number, driver's license information, or bank and credit card accounts and use the information to establish credit, make purchases, apply for loans or even seek employment.
The statistics are staggering. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Florida was ranked sixth in the nation for identity theft in 2002, with over 10,000 reported victims. Victims of identity theft can come from any lifestyle regardless of race, gender, age or socioeconomic status. The Florida Attorney General's Office has developed a centralized "one-stop" resource center for victims of identity theft in Florida. Individuals in other states who had their personal information fraudulently used in the state of Florida will also find this resource useful.
Included on the web site is an Identity Theft Victim Kit, which is designed to help you through the process of resolving your identity theft case and clearing your name. While there are many general identity theft resource guides available, this kit was specifically developed to provide assistance to Floridians who are identity theft victims, as well as individuals in other states who had their personal information fraudulently used in the state of Florida.
A related web site is the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). IFCC's mission is to address fraud committed over the Internet. For victims of Internet fraud, IFCC provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation. For law enforcement and regulatory agencies at all levels, IFCC offers a central repository for complaints related to Internet fraud, works to quantify fraud patterns, and provides timely statistical data of current fraud trends.
Victim Assistance Resources:
ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name
The comprehensive guide from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for victims of identity crime that provides concrete steps for what to do when you are a victim. Every victim you encounter should be given this guide or the information on where to obtain it (from the FTC at 1-877-ID-THEFT or www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
ID Theft Affidavit
This tool from the FTC for victims is also included in the "ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to your Good Name." The Affidavit is a standard form accepted by most financial institutions as notification that fraud has occurred. Victims fill out the Affidavit, make copies of it, and send to all businesses and institutions where fraud has occurred in their name.
Enhancing ID Theft Victim/Investigator Communications
This guide from the Identity Theft Resource Center helps victims understand how law enforcement conducts identity crime investigations and manages victim expectations of law enforcement. The document also helps victims communicate better with law enforcement.
Organizing Your Identity Theft Case
This guide from the Identity Theft Resource Center gives victims concrete steps they can take to begin organizing the information they collect in the course of clearing up their financial records. Tools recommended by the guide include an Official Case Log, a Personal Journal, and Notebook Items.
Identity Crimes Incident Detail Form (for victims)
A form for victims to fill out and give back to law enforcement investigators. This is a structured questionnaire designed to help victims provide the necessary and important information to law enforcement.
USPIS Identity Theft Brochure
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service's pamphlet on how to prevent identity theft and what to do if you are a victim.
Social Security Administration Fraud Hotline
This pamphlet from the Social Security Administration Inspector General's Office explains to consumers how to report fraud.