Victim Procedures for Identity Crimes

The South Fayette Township Police Department, like every other police department, has experienced an increase in reported identity crimes. Identity crime occurs when someone else uses your personal identifiable information (name, address, social security number, date of birth, etc.) to illegally obtain goods, services, or any other financial gain.

If you become a victim of an identity crime, there are 6 main steps you should take.

1. File a Police Report

Victims are required to file a police report in order to dispute fraudulent transactions, correct compromised accounts, place fraud alerts with the credit bureaus, and to obtain free copies of their credit reports to review. The victim will need to send a copy of the initial police report to each involved bank, creditor, other business, credit bureau, and debt collector in order to dispute compromised or fraudulent accounts or transactions. A copy of the report, or report number must be included with each affidavit (see #2). The victim should keep an original copy of the report, but copy it as many times as necessary. The Pennsylvania Identity Theft Statute states that the venue or police department where a victim should report the crime for jurisdictional purposes is as follows:

  • The residence, business, or employment address of the person whose information has been compromised
  • The place where a person possessed or used the compromised information

2. Obtain & Complete an Identity Theft Affidavit for Each Compromised or Fraudulently Opened Account

The victim is required to prepare an affidavit stating that they did not commit the fraud. A copy of an Identity Theft Affidavit that is acceptable by most businesses, creditors, and debt collectors can be obtained at the Federal Trade Commission website.

3. Close All Compromised Accounts

The victim should immediately contact their credit card companies and banking and other financial institutions, and close all accounts that may have been compromised or subject to fraudulent take-over by unauthorized persons.

4. Place a Fraud Alert With Each Credit Bureau

The victim must contact at least 1 credit bureau to place a fraud alert. The victim will then receive free credit reports from all 3 credit bureaus in order to identify new fraudulent activity or compromised accounts. There are 2 types of fraud alerts: initial alert and extended alert. An initial fraud alert is active on a victim's credit report for at least 90 days. An extended alert is active for 7 years. The 3 major credit bureaus are:

  • Equifax
    P.O. Box 740241
    Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
    Phone: 800-525-6285
  • Experian
    P.O. Box 9530
    Allen, TX 75013
    Phone: 800-397-3742
  • Trans Union
    Fraud Victim Assistance Division
    P.O. Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92634
    Phone: 800-680-7289

5. Request That Credit Reporting Bureaus Block Fraudulent Information

The Fair Credit Reporting Act establishes procedures for correcting fraudulent information on the victim's credit reports and requires that the victim's credit report be made available only for legitimate business needs. Under the FCRA, both the consumer reporting company and the information provider (the business such as a bank or credit card company that sent the information to the consumer reporting company), are responsible for correcting fraudulent information in the victims report. The victim needs to contact both the consumer reporting company and the information provider. Consumer reporting companies will block fraudulent information from appearing on the victim's report if the victim sends them a copy of the police report and a letter telling them what information is fraudulent. The consumer reporting company has 4 business days to block the fraudulent information after accepting the victim's police report and letter.

6. File a Complaint With the Federal Trade Commission

The victim should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-438-4338 or online. Information pertaining to the theft or misuse of identifying information is entered into the hotline database. This information is then processed into the Consumer Sentinel Database that is available to law enforcement officers.

This information was provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission, and the South Fayette Township Police Department.