Guide 2020 to Identity Theft Affidavits
Do you always need to get an identity theft affidavit? Where do you get an identity theft affidavit? And what do you do with it?
Hey everyone, this is attorney Joseph McClelland and say we're going to go over everything you've always wanted to know about identity theft affidavits in this article.
If you have any questions about this article or identity theft, reach out for a free consultation. We love to help.
- Hey everyone, I'm attorney Joseph McClelland, and today we're going over the topic of identity theft affidavits. Coming up.
All right, so, you've clicked on this video, and you're watching, and you have a question about identity theft affidavits. So, I'm assuming at this point that you have legitimate identity theft counts on your credit report. So what is an identity theft affidavit?
Okay. Well, first of all it's an affidavit, and it's additional proof that you can use to give the credit bureaus in order for them to fully analyze your credit report, and specifically certain accounts on there that you say aren't yours. And so an identity theft affidavit is just one vehicle.
You can also use a police report, and you can also use a very specific template that includes the language of, "under the penalty of perjury."
So an identity theft affidavit is just a document, and you're going to need to include that document with your actual dispute letter. And so where do you get that document? Well, you can get that from identitytheft.gov. There are probably some other similar templates, but I would go directly there if that's the method that you want to use. And trust me, you don't have to use that method at all.
You can use the police report, which we don't really advise, and in my office our process is to use our own standard letter that has that language in there because that's just how we like to do it, and we think that's best. So you go to the identitytheft.gov, and you want to fill out your identity theft affidavit.
What's going to be in it? Well, basically, your information, so your current name, excuse me, your name, your current address, probably even a previous address to make sure they're going to pull your information specifically, date of birth, your social security number, and then you're going to list the accounts that you believe are fraudulently created.
And so in that you will include the account number for each, and the dollar amount that's listed. And that means that you will need to be looking at your credit disclosure or a credit report in order to get that information. On there as well, you'll include some information about how you think it was stolen, and who you think stole that information.
And so that's it. So you can fill that out, you'll complete the form, and when you get to the end you'll want to print that out and sign it. And again, this is just one step, so once you get the financial... Excuse me, once you get the identity theft affidavit, that doesn't mean that it's over, so just filling it out is not going to do anything. That's literally just a document now between you and yourself, okay?
That document now has to be given over to the credit bureaus. You don't need to send that to the furnisher, or the company that's providing that information, although I would always send a courtesy copy to them of what you sent to the credit bureaus. So again, you're going to get that identity theft affidavit, you're going to complete it, now you want to include a proper dispute template.
Now, a lot of the ones I see online aren't cutting it, so if you want ours, and you want to do this yourself, absolutely. Just reach out to us and we'll give it to you. And that's it. Specifically, actually, if you're in this situation and it's legitimate identity theft, I would not try to do this alone. This is not really a credit issue as much as it's actually a legal issue.
It's a combination of both. Because of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you'll need to take the exact right steps, and if you do so and it's not removed in a very short period of time, it's four days under the statute, then you're actually entitled to a fair amount of money under either a state law or under that Fair Credit Reporting Act law. So doing that yourself is just kind of a ridiculous idea if it's legitimately identity theft.
It's always best to consult a Fair Credit Reporting Act attorney to get that done. Not only are your attorney's fees paid under the statute, but like I mentioned, there can be a substantial amount of money to you as the victim of identity theft. And so, going it alone, when you have all those things going for you makes absolutely no sense.
Guys, that's about everything you're going to need to know for an identity theft affidavit. So I'm attorney Joseph McClelland. If you wish for me to get involved, or my firm to get involved, please reach out. If you want to do it yourself, by all means, you go for that. I support you one hundred percent. So I'm attorney Joseph McClelland, and I'm wishing you and yours all the best.
Why Do You Need An Identity Theft Affidavit?
Before we jump into exactly what an identity theft affidavit is, let's back up a second and talk about why would you ever need such a thing.
The only reason a consumer would ever need to use one of these affidavits is that they are a victim of identity theft.
Identity theft is extremely common nowadays mainly because of the number of accounts someone can create online without needing certain information.
In previous articles, we have discussed why it is important to get your credit report and how to get your credit report. We have also covered how to dispute your Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion credit errors.
If you are looking for information on getting an identity theft affidavit, that means you have most likely already seen your credit report and have noticed one or more accounts or inquiries that aren't yours.
If you have not, please review those articles, as well.
Furthermore, and previous articles we have discussed the fact that you do have a remedy when dealing with identity theft or credit report mistakes. Your remedy is a law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act or FCRA.
In order for the Fair Credit Reporting Act to work for you in the situation where you have identity theft, your first step is to pull your credit report. You are going to need the name of the account and the account number that the faults account is reporting. You will need this for the identity theft affidavit. You will also want to write down the amount do according to this false account.
The Federal Trade Commission has created a website just for people with identity theft to help them. By no means is this the only method to address identity theft. For example, you can contact our office to advise you in creating and submitting these documents.
The website is called identitytheft.gov.
You will find a link to create your identity theft affidavit. After this, you will simply follow the instructions filling in each of the requested sections.
You will want to click on the button entitled quotation marks I want to report identity theft quotation marks.
You will then be asked what did the Identity Thief used your information for.
You will have the opportunity to say whether the Identity Thief opened a credit card account, a cell phone account, a utility account, a bank account, taxes, government benefits, or other types of accounts.
You will then be asked how your information was misused. The options are to open up a fraudulent telephone account, to make charges to the account.
You will be asked what company opened the fraudulent account, when did you first notice the problem, about when the account was opened, the estimate of the total amount of fraudulent charges, the account number of the fraudulent account, and whether or not you spoke to the company that is being reported.
You will then be asked your basic information such as your name, your phone number, your email address, your date of birth, and your mailing address.
You will also be asked if you know anything about the person who stole your identity. It is not required that you have this information.
You will then be asked whether or not you've reviewed your credit report and whether you have requested a fraud alert from one of the three national credit bureaus.
You will be asked if you contacted the local police.
You will also be asked if a debt collector has contacted you about an account that is not yours.
Continue to complete the report.
Print a copy for yourself to mail to the credit reporting agencies!
As I alluded to at the beginning of the article, you do not always need to use an identity theft affidavit.
In fact, you have three options:
- The first option is to use an identity theft affidavit that we have discussed in this article.
- The second option is to obtain a police report from your local police station where you identify the same information that you identified in the identity theft affidavit.
- The final option is to simply use a normal dispute letter but include the language at the bottom before your signature that states everything stayed above is under the penalty of perjury and the other specific language that accompanies that paragraph. If you take this route then you do not need to obtain an identity theft affidavit or police report.
If you have already submitted to the credit reporting agencies your police report, identity theft affidavit, or the dispute letter under the threat of perjury, then you do not need to take any additional steps.
Most likely your best step will be to contact this office and discuss with us how this is impacted your life.
We may take the case individually or work with local attorneys near you to get this issue resolved and to see if you are also owed monetary damages for one or more companies violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act if we think you have a claim.
What Happens If They Fix It?
If it is resolved, then you are done.
What Happens If They Don't Fix It?
If it is not resolved, and you have a major issue that may not be resolved simply by mailing letters. You will need to get our office involved to fight for you on a contingency basis so that we can prove you were not the one who opened the account.
Recap of Identity Theft Affidavits
I know a lot of this seems confusing, but it is actually very straightforward.
If you find an error on your credit report, you need to dispute it to the credit bureaus. If the credit bureaus don't correct the error, then you may have a claim for damages.
To make sure this gets resolved the fastest for you, it is recommended that you mail your dispute letters by certified mail. This way you can prove that they received your dispute.
When your results are mailed back to you from the credit bureaus after your credit dispute, you simply want to review what they sent you to see if they fixed the error that you told them about.
This is very simple to see when it comes back to you.
If you have any questions do not hesitate to call our office or complete one of the forms on our website. Take care and we wish the best for you fighting this identity theft issue.