Most ID theft victims don’t need a police report

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Image of an FTC Identity Theft Report.When it comes to reporting and recovering from identity theft, we’re simplifying the process by eliminating the need for a police report in most cases.

How does it work? When you report identity theft using IdentityTheft.gov, you’ll answer some questions about what happened. IdentityTheft.gov then uses your information to create the tools you need to begin your recovery, including:

  • a personal recovery plan
  • pre-filled letters to send to merchants, banks, and others affected by the identity theft, and
  • an “Identity Theft Report,” which is your official statement about the crime.

In most cases, you can use your Identity Theft Report in place of a police report to clear your account and credit records of transactions that resulted from the identity theft. That’s because when you use IdentityTheft.gov, you’re reporting the crime to the Federal Trade Commission, a federal law enforcement agency. Just like when you file a police report, you’re legally obligated to tell the truth to the best of your knowledge, and subject to criminal penalties if you don’t. That makes your Identity Theft Report powerful evidence that you’re telling the truth.

By reducing the need for police reports, IdentityTheft.gov helps you get started on your recovery quickly, and helps free local police to focus on public safety. Still, contact the police to report identity theft if:

  • you know the identity thief, or have other information that could help a police investigation
  • an identity thief used your name in a traffic stop or any encounter with police, or
  • a creditor, debt collector, or someone else affected by the identity theft insists that you produce a police report.

To learn more about identity theft, browse our recovery steps, or visit our Privacy and Identity page for prevention tips.

Comments

Too easy access to change info on Shop Runner. com!! Credit cards should change their requirements to use online.

I have went upside down and back with my husband and myself as well as my parents and A HORRIBLE case of identity theft, I bought a lemon car the dealer was supposed to buy back and didn't, there's credit cards out, reverse mortgages, post tramatic stress disorder, disability needing help, I had a police report but didn't get the number and everytime I think I get it taken care of, something else happens!! Help

You can use IdentityTheft.gov to report the problem and get help. The site will ask you specific questions about your situation, and then use the information you provide to build your personal recovery plan. You can create a report to law enforcement when you're on IdentityTheft.gov.

If you create an IdentityTheft.gov account, the site will

  • walk you through each recovery step
  • track your progress and update your plan as needed
  • pre-fill letters and forms for you.

This sounds like me where to get help when you are all by yourself and there all against me there doing it for what i dont know but there going to make it seen like I'm the one doing this i know there going to frame me what can i do to defend myself the right way before its to late need help immediately please!

You can use IdentityTheft.gov to report the problem and get help. The site will ask you specific questions about your situation, and then use the information you provide to build your personal recovery plan. You can create a report to law enforcement when you're on IdentityTheft.gov.

Very nice feature. FTC keep up the good work.

Thanks for all you do.

Seena Gressin is wrong about not having to make an ID theft report with your local law enforcement agency.

As a 23 year veteran of working ID Theft and Fraud cases, I can give at least two reasons to make a report.

1. Local law enforcement keeps track of records showing the number of ID thefts that are in their communities. We look for trends, skimming schemes, and counterfeit credit card usage.

2. Most banks require a report so they know that their cardholder is not the person using the card and not just making false claims so they don't have to pay the bill. When a police report, is made the investigation can then clear the cardholder of any wrongdoing and possibly identify suspects or scams working in the community.

So, please take the time to make the report with your local law enforcement agency. We need that report for prosecution if we apprehend someone using your name or other personal identifiers.

Thank You, from a Law Enforcement Fraud Expert.

Thanks for your comment. We’ve been working with the financial services industry on this project. Credit agencies, banks, and merchants should treat the FTC Identity Theft Report like a police report. It’s a report to a federal law enforcement agency, and subject to laws that impose criminal penalties for knowingly making false statements to the government.

Information collected from reports to the FTC about identity theft are available to law enforcement agencies through the Consumer Sentinel Network, a free, searchable, law enforcement-only database. Law enforcers use the database to find individual reports or discover trends, locate additional victims, and coordinate with law enforcers in other jurisdictions. If your law enforcement agency isn’t part of the Consumer Sentinel Network, please visit FTC.gov/sentinel to learn more.

We do recommend that people contact police if they have any information that could assist in an investigation, or if a merchant requests additional documentation of the crime. It’s never harmful to get a police report, but it’s not always necessary.

My question is as a person investigating fraud what recourse do I have when the consumer is filling out this form only to get out of the credit card debt. We can prove the card was sent to the consumer's home address and calls came in from a phone number listed to the consumer claiming fraud. How do I combat this issue. It would be great if all consumer's were honest.

My identity and personal information might have been stolen. I need advice on what I can do to recover.

You can use IdentityTheft.gov to report the problem and get help. The site will ask you specific questions about your situation, and then use the information you provide to build your personal recovery plan. You can create a report to law enforcement when you're on IdentityTheft.gov.

If you create an IdentityTheft.gov account, the site will

  • walk you through each recovery step
  • track your progress and update your plan as needed
  • pre-fill letters and forms for you.

So I have been fighting this for 2 years. Someone opened a cell phone account in my name by a computer pretenting to be me. They know all my information. The email made is a alias account linked to a primary email. This person has locked me out of my Apple ID or any account due to the fact that they changed the address'my birthday ( it's all encrypted) all my personal accounts are compromised. Where I do banking and pay my bills due to the fact that this alias email was made and they put all my personal information all the banking and where I pay bills at first did think it was me. My life has been ruined . My accounts have been switched ,banking since they would sign up for the apps and make account information for me. Untrue and fraudulently. The person bought 3rd party authentication on my cell phones to have ability to make changes to my phone accounts. I called the bank the other day still have the wrong email and phone number even though I have updated it. All bills in my name . What's even worse due to the fact that I am locked out of email accounts that this awful person has done and still doing (THEY ARE RECEIVING ALL MY PERSONAL INFORMATION) i am not. So every month I call in to make sure the bill is paid and to ask for paper bill.

(HOWEVER I JUST LEARNED THE TERRIBLE PERSOn WHO IS TRYING TO RUIN ME IS STILL GETTING BY WITH THAT ALIAs EMAIL THATI NEVER MADE ASKED FOR BILLS TO GO TO A SET UP ACCOUNT FOR BILLS.

Thank goodness it's all being documented and flagged finally to companies that this is fraud ,identity theft and impersonation. The person has to know everything about me.

It's frustrating, time consuming, all my personal rights are broken. This person even got to my medical records. I am doing the right steps I think to pick up the pieces from this person ruining my life. I am a stay at home mom with 3 kids. We own a Business. However I am the only one whos identity was taken. They are doing it mostly over a computer since I am locked out of my primary email and phone number.

Since they know my Apple ID ,social security name birthday I found out they are logging into the banking apps, our insurance even my new car for Infiniti Touch Services this person set up a account with a password. Again all personal information going to perpetrator . I have contacted to let all companies now. I am tired of this now.

Sorry this is so long. I am just at a loss of words over this and saddened that someone is this cruel and wants to control and know all aspects of my life but the illegal way .

You can also use IdentityTheft.gov to report the problem and get help. The site will ask you specific questions about your situation, and then use the information you provide to build your personal recovery plan. You can create a report to law enforcement when you're on IdentityTheft.gov.

If you create an IdentityTheft.gov account, the site will

  • walk you through each recovery step
  • track your progress and update your plan as needed
  • pre-fill letters and forms for you.

Good info

Having worked in law enforcement for a number of years, it is best to file a police report. Some banks and other institutions require it. Depending upon the nature of the ID theft, police may be able to track down the perpetrator and forward that information on to the appropriate agency, in many cases, another law enforcement agency for follow up.

Thanks for your comment. We’ve been working with the financial services industry on this project. Credit agencies, banks, and merchants should treat the FTC Identity Theft Report like a police report. It’s a report to a federal law enforcement agency, and subject to laws that impose criminal penalties for knowingly making false statements to the government.

Information collected from reports to the FTC about identity theft are available to law enforcement agencies through the Consumer Sentinel Network, a free, searchable, law enforcement-only database. Law enforcers use the database to find individual reports or discover trends, locate additional victims, and coordinate with law enforcers in other jurisdictions. If your law enforcement agency isn’t part of the Consumer Sentinel Network, please visit FTC.gov/sentinel to learn more.

We do recommend that people contact police if they have any information that could assist in an investigation, or if a merchant requests additional documentation of the crime. It’s never harmful to get a police report, but it’s not always necessary.

If you send in State ID and birth certificate , and don't receive them back. Because either the office or post office lost them . Should you file a identity theft report?

What about the steps needed to be taken when you have realized your a victim of I'd theft? Who and how do you contact and what do you do to correct critical information that can be dangerous in an emergency treatment situation. Safe guards are in place when health professionals can verify information with a patient but now with electronic records available professionals at times accept all information to be accurate for treatment especially if patient is unconscious and has allergies but records indicate patient has taken a medication before with no reaction but Id theft of a prescription not taken by the patient now being treated can't take that drug, and is unconscious. What safeguards are in place and who's responsibility is it to make sure hospital records that are false from a prior date get changed, deleted from that correct patients profile?
What happens with plain old prescription fraud and person uses your name to get narcotics that you have a known allergy? Police did nothing? Never went to CVS!! Didn't hear from police and I knew who person was that stole a Rx pad and wrote some in my name! I went to CVS AND INFORMED THEM and dispensed Rx. after telling them it was fraudulent! CVS couldn't take that fraudulent Rx written in my name out of the profile they told me and I'm allergic. Never mind state records!!Who takes that information on that Rx out of state records and flags it as fraud or deletes it permanently. My internist wanted to write a prescription for pain and saw that I was given it in the past by another doctor, not realizing my allergy to narcotics!! That's hoe I knew the doctor who's name was on that fraudulent prescription. DEA said falls off records in 6 months! That answer was dismissive of my concerns and was careless for protecting my safety. I wrote atty. general Medicaid fraud and they sent detectives to investigate fraud. However they were interested in an arrest and no one ensured or had protocol in place in these situations so my medical records could be corrected and state records changed, What are the steps involved and with what agency?

Federal law gives you the right to know what's in your medical files. IdentityTheft.gov has information to help people victims of  medical identity theft. It explains who to contact and how to check your state's health privacy laws.

Another scam again by telephone: "Based on your recent contact in March with National Grid, we are conducting a survey on behalf on National Grid".Facts:I didn't contact Nat. Grid in March, there is no survey from nat. Grid.,caller could not identify me by name,and I told "Marlene" i didn't believe her and I think this is a scam, Nat. Grid would never contact me like this and not even ask to identify me."Marlene" hung up on me.My caller ID showed # 1-781-884-0690 as R. Bernet which is a known scammer when looked up online.They are at it again-i don't know what else they were after, but I gave "Marlene" such a hard time on the phone, she hung up on me.This is not the first time caller id showed the R. Bernet name.It probable is a re-routed location and use different tactics each time. Beware. I was almost convinced this was real at first because it was a live person, but because they couldn't identify me and I never made an inquiry in March(really? It's April now) to Nat. Grid., it raised the red flag warnings.

This is great, and thank you!

I have had Identity theft involving American Express,USAA, Chase credit cards. ALL required police reports, and did not accept my IDtheft.gov document.

Until this has become an accepted, standard practice for at least six months, I would insist on a police report.

I am hacked by an Advanced Computer Tech who has done nothing but cause problems for my friends, my family members and a very well Known Artist with a fantastic Band named after a hit Album Farewell Party. He is as honest as the day is long has a fantastic personality and has a tendency when a smile would make him so Much better he is getting better at the smile. He is a True Classic Country Man I sure do love him and I also love Mickey Mouse but I guess Gene would come in first Thanks for hearing me out by the way I have only been married once to the Father of my children 1 Daughter 3 sons 2 who have passed 1 at the age of 28 and the other who was involved in a work related job and happened to be 42 ft. in the air when he turned on a welder that electrocuted him and he fell 42 ft. He spent the last 6yrs.and 3 months as a Quad as deeply as I loved this son who was my Baby I was sure God was making the right choice My son made the decision to have his Vent removed it will soon be 4 years and it seems especially hard now for this year Love is something you can never replace RIP my Beloved son

i;m victimes but i for got username and password for ID dreft account i can't lock in how do i can get back because i need to up date my phaone , address

You can call the FTC identity theft line at 1-877-438-4338.

Moving to Florida, I soon learned its that state with the highest FRAUD rate. Having my Medicara information stolen caused endless hours of pain. Being directed by my credit clearing company to file a Police Report and getting my local Sheriff Deparment to take the report was like pulling teeth! Nor was I happy seeing my voter information being sold by the county and showing up online! Most agencies give lip service but sometimes we find special those that are a step above. Send letters to your District Attorny, let the Sheriff know your response from his team, don't forget the IRS, Medicare and your Congressional Represenative.

More privacy

I have to agree with those who say this is a big mistake, like ICarlson. I am not speaking for my agency but for myself. To point out some issues, "eliminating the need for a report in MOST cases" but how do I today know whether my theft falls into a most case? How do I know whether the thief is someone overseas, or in California or is local, when MY police department has jurisdiction and can arrest. How do I know if the creditor, or crooked creditor, who contacts me, will accept an FTC report? Will the FTC come after some small creditor or collector who says only a police report is evidence? If my local police, who have a volunteer follow up group for identity theft and scams, don't get notice, how can they follow up? Ms. Small says credit agencies, banks and merchants "should" accept reports to the FTC, but will they? I will still recommend filing a police report recognizing that in many cases the police don't have jurisdiction over some scammer in the next county, let alone in the next country or even the next state. Maybe in ten years the FTC advice will prove correct; give it again in 2027!

I am a victim of identity theft. I agree that filing a police report is a must. I am in NC and I had to work with a detective in Florida. Without the police report I would not have gotten his contact information.
I so appreciate the email updates I get from Homeland Security. I am sharing them with friends and family. Thank you for such good information.

Thank you for your comment. You should report identity theft to your local police if:

  • you know the identity thief, or have other information that could help a police investigation,
  • the identity theft is related to another crime, such as a burglary, robbery, domestic abuse, or stalking, that should be reported to the police,
  • an identity thief used your name in a traffic stop or any encounter with police, or
  • a creditor, debt collector, or someone else affected by the identity theft insists that you produce a police report.

The FTC Identity Theft Report is a report to a federal law enforcement agency, and subject to laws that impose criminal penalties for knowingly making false statements to the government. Banks, insurers, and other financial institutions should treat it like a police report. In some cases, an institution may ask for more evidence about the identity theft. If you submit an FTC Identity Theft Report and are asked for more evidence, you may wish to request a report from your local police.

This is all well and good, but many banks, insurers, and other financial institutions demand a local police report. Until a law is enacted requiring them to accept the FTC report as a police report, they'll continue to do what they damn well please, as they're accustomed to doing.

On another note...

If the federal government really wanted to stomp out identity theft, it could have done so already. The federal government is 100 percent responsible for the epidemic of identity theft for allowing, and sometimes requiring, so many different entities to collect our SSNs / TINs / EINs. That could be remedied quite easily if the federal government had the will to do so. Here's how.

1. Create proxy numbers that payers can use to file W2s, 1099s, and so forth. The proxy numbers wouldn't be the payee's "real" SSN / EIN / TIN, but would be linked to same. Payers would then be able to file required reports without knowing the payee's actual SSN / TIN / EIN.

2. Forbid the banking industry from using the SSN for creditworthiness or any other purposes. Tell the CRA industry that they have 18 months to come up with Some Other System for identifying people. If they don't, they're out of business. Tough luck.

3. Forbid the insurance industry from collecting SSNs for any reason, and forbid health and dental insurers from paying any claims for which the SSN is used to identify the insured. I don't know of any private insurance company that doesn't issue its own ID numbers nowadays, but doctors and dentists still insist on the SSN and use it to file claims. Forbid the insurers from honoring those claims, and that practice will stop posthaste.

4. Enact hefty statutory payments to victims of data breaches by the companies that were breached, regardless of whether or not the victims suffer any actual harm. I'd say $5,000.00 per person would be a good number. As an IT professional, I can say that most breaches are the result of corner-cutting by companies (for example, not wanting to invest in proper firewalls, encryption technology, or regular outside security audits). The solution to this problem is easy: Make a breach so financially devastating to a company that proper data security becomes cheap by comparison.

5. Enact legislation such as the EU has to REQUIRE companies to delete any and all personal information it has about a person on that person's request, except when the company is required by law to retain it.

The most important reform needed is to immediately halt the use of the SSN as a de factor national ID number. That practice is the base cause for identity theft, and it is 100 percent the fault of the federal government for allowing (and sometimes requiring) it to be used in that way.

Geek

Thank you for your comment. You should report identity theft to your local police if:

  • you know the identity thief, or have other information that could help a police investigation,
  • the identity theft is related to another crime, such as a burglary, robbery, domestic abuse, or stalking, that should be reported to the police,
  • an identity thief used your name in a traffic stop or any encounter with police, or
  • a creditor, debt collector, or someone else affected by the identity theft insists that you produce a police report.

The FTC Identity Theft Report is a report to a federal law enforcement agency, and subject to laws that impose criminal penalties for knowingly making false statements to the government. Banks, insurers, and other financial institutions should treat it like a police report. In some cases, an institution may ask for more evidence about the identity theft. If you submit an FTC Identity Theft Report and are asked for more evidence, you may wish to request a report from your local police.

Great information. I even ask for myself when calling the number on back of my medicare and supplemental insurance company a question that could only be known by the official carrier before I provide any information about my call, and the two insurers state that they wished every one did this to help eliminate fraud. I also refuse to write my entire ssn on forms especially with new health care practitioners, and tell the respective providers that they get the last four digits only. If they reply that they would not accept that, I tell them I have other health care practitioners who respect and accept the terms of transaction. Finally, DO NOT ALLOW MEDICARE OR SUPPLEMENTAL HEALTH INSURANCE TO HAVE YOUR HEALTH CARE INFORMATION ON THE INTERNET! Call the agencies involved and demand the information be sent to you through the post office only and for added protection ask for a confirmation of your request

Yes! However, why can't anyone enforce the rights of the Crime Victims even when have reported on Identitytheft.gov,plus updated the creditor with even criminal case and court info! then reported the creditor harrassing prior to final awful injjury!!! Including stating an ammount of money and keeping that money and implying that the payment "took ten days" to clear! against a bank's online statement clearly proving that " false". In other words they took the payment prior to " suggested delay" and kept product further injuring a crime victim! If and ontop of it being successfully reported tyo two major " Consumer Protection Agencies" and they did not see evidence? or were not authorized to enforce ? whom does already? Crime Victims should not have to be further injured by having to hire an attorney. Especially if they are documented robbery,I.D. theft and actually approached agencies under impression they were to "protect". As a parent, student, and advocate for law enforcement, and victims rights as well as active crime prevention promoter....this has to get attention of proper top! Oh and also a tax payer ...thanks for the vent anyway. Hope someone combines major efforts.

Thank you. I am in a situation that sounds similar to what Lovely Trouble reported on April 27, 2017. This new reporting method makes things sooooo much easier. In my case, data tampering is being used to destroy me, not steal funds. But it has truly been devastating, and it's been paired with an attack on technology (computers and phones); data tweaking of almost all accounts, both financial and non-financial, and eventually led to the removal of my kids from my home, which upon information and belief, was one of the key objectives. I do know who's doing it, but I can't seem to prove it. And I am saying so here specifically because I fully realize I can't lie to a federal law enforcement agency and I am exceptionally thankful to have direct access to your agency. And I'll say that every single person I've spoken with at FTC as been wonderful Thank you. While it might not be immediate, you're helping people put lives back together.

Dear grateful citizen,

You should report to the police if any of the following conditions apply:

  • you know the identity thief, or have other information that could help a police investigation,
  • the identity theft is related to another crime, such as a burglary, robbery, domestic abuse, or stalking, that should be reported to the police,
  • an identity thief used your name in a traffic stop or any encounter with police, or
  • a creditor, debt collector, or someone else affected by the identity theft insists that you produce a police report.

How can an FTC report be made when the mail is stolen, the phone is tapped and all the authorities are in a crime organization's back pocket and they have their members in all the businesses. A Mental Health Profession was paid off to say I am psychotic and delusional so no one will believe me and I have never had any problem except Panic attacks...which they are causing.

You should report to the police if any of the following conditions apply:

  • you know the identity thief, or have other information that could help a police investigation,
  • the identity theft is related to another crime, such as a burglary, robbery, domestic abuse, or stalking, that should be reported to the police,
  • an identity thief used your name in a traffic stop or any encounter with police, or
  • a creditor, debt collector, or someone else affected by the identity theft insists that you produce a police report.

Two months ago i was a victim of credit card fraud. I cancelled that card at my bank and got a new one and that was the end of it. I felt no need to report it. Now two months later a collection agency from Germany is saying i owe them 160,80 EURO. I gave them a really nice letter stating i didn't and now they're requesting a police report proving it. What do i do?

You can report the credit card fraud to IdentityTheft.gov.

You will answer some questions about what happened and IdentityTheft.gov will use your information to create an “Identity Theft Report,” which is your official statement about the crime. In most cases, you can use your Identity Theft Report in place of a police report to clear your account and credit records of transactions that resulted from the identity theft. When you use IdentityTheft.gov, you’re reporting the crime to the Federal Trade Commission, a federal law enforcement agency.

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