Huge Increase in Tax Identity Theft, New Helpful FTC Website, IdentityTheft.gov

Huge Increase in Tax Identity Theft, New Helpful FTC Website, IdentityTheft.gov Identity theft fraudsters used to steal consumers’ credit card information and run up charges. They still do, but now the fraudsters are stealing identity information to file fraudulent tax returns to get tax refunds in large numbers. In 2015, about 43% of the Federal Trade Commission’s complaints were related to use of stolen identities to get others’ tax refunds. Fraudsters also use someone else’s children as dependents in filing their tax returns to lessen their tax liability. Other crooks claim a tax refund using a deceased taxpayer’s information. Still...

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Social Security May Make it Easier for Kids to Get New Numbers if their Identity is Stolen

CreditCards.com has an informative a report on a proposed rule that could help kids replace stolen Social Security numbers. An incredible number of kids’ social security numbers have been stolen so the thieves can get employment, credit cards, or to collect tax refunds. Thieves like to steal kids’ socials because usually no one checks their credit reports. A Carnegie Mellon University report estimated that 10% of children have had their socials used by someone else. This is a rate 51 times higher than adults! Persons seeking to change their social security numbers have met great resistance from the Social Security...

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The FCRA’s Limits on Access to Your Credit Reports

CreditCards.com has an informative report on who is permitted to view consumers’ credit reports. The FCRA limits access to persons with a “permissible purpose.” Persons may access a consumer’s credit files if the consumer gives written consent or in connection with a credit transaction to which the consumer consented. Persons may also access a consumer’s credits for the purpose of checking an applicant’s employment history, in connection with an application for insurance, and for other limited purposes. The most common permissible purpose violation is in the case of identity theft. CreditCards.com describes a case in which a clerk at a...

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FTC Report on How Credit Bureaus Deal with Identity Theft

The FTC has a report out on a survey of 3,000 identity theft victims and their experiences dealing with the credit reporting agencies. The survey indicated that many consumers start out not knowing how the dispute process works under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. This is not surprising given the complexity of the matter and the counter intuitive requirement that the consumer contact the credit bureaus directly rather than going through the creditor that is reporting the inaccurate information. Among the identity theft victims who contacted the credit bureaus, 40% did not know they had the right to dispute to...

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Identity Theft Victims Should Always Obtain a Police Report

Identity theft often results in accounts showing up on the victim’s credit reports. When that happens, a first step is to go to the local police to report the theft and get a report. A next step is to send a copy of the report to each of the credit bureaus with a letter asking that the fraudster’s accounts be deleted. Police reports are important in this process because under the FCRA, 15 U.S.C. § 1681c-2, a credit bureau must block the reporting of any incorrect information in a consumer’s file upon receiving: “(1) appropriate proof of the identity of...

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