As we approach the biggest shopping day of the year, it is important to remember that it is also a big day for thieves to cash in on unsuspecting victims. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are big days for shoppers and thieves. The Bureau of Justice reports that in 2015, 17.6 Million Americans fell victim to identity theft. What is interesting about this statistic is that the Bureau reports that, “Fewer than 1 in 10 identity theft victims reported the incident to police.” This is surprising because the three Credit Reporting Agencies, Experian, Equifax and Trans Union require a police report as one of the requirements to be filed prior to blocking stolen information on your credit history.
In the Bureau of Justice’s latest statistics, the Bureau found that 45% of individuals were notified by a financial institution when they suspected suspicious activity, but individuals whose identity was stolen to open up new accounts, did not know anything about the theft until they applied for a loan or checked their credit reports. In fact, the Bureau reports, “Most identity theft victims did not know how the offender obtained their information, and almost all (9 in 10) did not know anything about the offender.”
If you experience identity theft during the coming holiday season, look at your credit report. Remember that you can obtain a free report once a year by ordering it online at https://www.annualcreditreport.com
If you find that someone is using your identity to purchase items, you must contact the lender. If you suspect your identity has been compromised, Credit Reporting Agencies must block information you identify as resulting from identity theft within four business days of receiving the following:
- Proof of identity.
- A police report indicating that your identity has been stolen.
- Identification of what was stolen.
- A statement from you that you were not involved in any of the transactions involved.
If you have been the victim of identity theft or have question about your credit report, please call Attorney Gary Nitzkin at at (888) 293-2882. The call is free and the advice is priceless.