What ID Theft is and How it happens

ID Theft comes in 3 forms.  The most common is actually not ID theft, but Credit Card theft.  The next kind is financial ID Theft.  Also possible is criminal ID Theft.

Credit card theft is when an unathorized person makes charges on your credit card.   This happens when you give your credit card to a person or business that is unscrupulous or untrustworthy.  They then copy your credit card number and other information so that they can use the card to make purchases.

If you are the victim of credit card theft, you must report this IN WRITING to your credit card company.  The address is the correspondence address or dispute address.  This is DIFFERENT from the payment address.  You must deliver your dispute to the credit card company within 60 days of receiving the statement, or you lose the right to dispute the charges.  If you are unsuccessful at getting the matter resolved, please contact us.

Financial ID Theft is where a person unknown to you obtains your personal identifying information and uses this to open an account with a financial institition (often a credit card, but may be as large as a car or house loan), and they they default. This then affects your credit scores relatively quickly, but the way that you are most likely to discover that you are the victim of such a scheme is that the collection calls start coming.

If you are the victim of ID theft, you should contact the creditor and any collection agency, and advise them of this fact.  Follow up by sending them a notarized copy of the FTC’s ID Theft affidavit.  Offer to cooperate with any police investigation, or try to report this to the police.  The local police may or may not be willing to take a report.  You can also report ID theft to the Postal Inspectors.  ID theft usually includes some mail fraud.  Follow up with copies of everything (the ID theft affidavit, the police report and any dispute letter to the furnisher) to the credit bureaus, explaining in as much detail as possible what the problem is, and how you are being harmed.  EVERYTHING should be sent by certified mail, return receipt requested.  You may need to send your dispute more than once.  If you are unsuccessful at getting the matter resolved, please contact us.

Criminal ID theft is when a person who is investigated by the police (traffic stop, drug raid, etc) identifies themself to the police as you. They are lying to the police, so that the police will not think they are the person they are.  The usual reason is that the person knows that there is a warrant out for their own arrest.

If you are the victim of criminal ID theft, you should contact the Virginia State Police, who will advise you on what their procedures are.   The Virginia State police can be found at 7700 Midlothian Turnpike,  Richmond, VA 23235, (804) 674-2000.  http://www.vsp.state.va.us/contact.shtm

Krumbein Consumer Legal Services, Inc.

5310 Markel Rd.

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Richmond, VA 23230


804-303-0209 (fax)

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