“I’ve seen your stories about senior citizens, but we’re young! I didn’t expect to have to deal with this!”
This was the response by a man who called us to ask about suspicious activity on more than one of his accounts. Given his descriptions, it sounded as if he had been the victim of identity theft. We talked about checking his credit reports, placing security freezes on his reports with the credit bureaus, and contacting the FTC.
We also talked about contacting the police department. He said he had already done that and that they wouldn’t accept a report, instead telling him to call us. I’ve heard this from other callers. But here is information from the FTC that illustrates the importance of filing a report with the police. See more information from the FTC below, but also visit the identity theft webpage for more on why a police report might be required and how to go about communicating with your local police department.
What do I do if the local police won’t take a report?
There are efforts at the federal, state and local level to ensure that local law enforcement agencies understand identity theft, its impact on victims, and the importance of taking a police report. However, we still hear that some departments are not taking reports. The following tips may help you to get a report if you’re having difficulties:
- Provide the officer with a copy of the Law Enforcement Cover Letter that explains why the police report and the Identity Theft Report* are so important to both victims and industry.
- Furnish as much documentation as you can to prove your case. Debt collection letters, credit reports, a copy of your printed ID Theft Complaint, and other evidence of fraudulent activity can help demonstrate the legitimacy of your case. Provide the police a copy of “Remedying the Effects of Identity Theft,” which shows that police reports are necessary to secure your rights.
- Be persistent if local authorities tell you that they can’t take a report. Stress the importance of a police report; many creditors require one to resolve your dispute. Remind them that consumer reporting companies will automatically block the fraudulent accounts and bad debts from appearing on your credit report, but only if you can give them a copy of the police report. In addition, a police report may be needed to obtain the fraudulent application and other records the company has.
- If you’re told that identity theft is not a crime under your state law, ask to file a Miscellaneous Incident Report instead.
- If you can’t get the local police to take a report, try your county police. If that doesn’t work, try your state police.
- Some states require the police to take reports for identity theft. Check with the office of your State Attorney General, which can be found at www.naag.org, to find out if your state has this law. (Note: According to the Indiana Attorney General, Indiana Law requires the local law enforcement agency where you live to take an official report and provide you with a copy.)
*An Identity Theft Report is a police report with more than the usual amount of detail.
The Evansville Police Department encourages individuals to file a police report. You can call 812-436-7956 or visit them between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. The records department also wants consumers to know that, although they can help you file an ID Theft report, the fraud unit cannot take action and investigate unless you provide documentation. This includes bank or credit card statements or anything else that illustrates fraudulent activity.