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Identity Theft ranks as the number one complaint to the FTC year after year and accounted for 37% of all complaints in 2005. Identity Theft is a real problem in today’s society. Your good credit rating can be damaged when someone uses your personal information without your permission to open credit accounts. The purpose of this article is to outline some of the steps that you can take to have the bad credit that results from this activity removed from your credit report.

If you suspect that your identity has been stolen, then you must immediately contact the CRA’s (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to have a Fraud Alert added to your credit fi le. A Fraud Alert will help prevent the thief from opening any new accounts in your name. You must also contact the fraud department of any company that you know or suspect has had an account opened or tampered with and you must have those accounts closed immediately.

The next step involves filing an identity theft report. This is an important step. Under the “Police Report Initiative” credit bureaus will automatically block fraudulent accounts and bad debts from appearing on your credit report. You will need to file a report.

Unfortunately, there is no federal law requiring a federal agency to take a report about identity theft. State laws vary and depending on your geographic location, you may be told that identity theft is not a crime under state law. If this is the case then the FTC recommends that you request to file a “Miscellaneous Incidents” Report instead.

Florida (myfloridalegal.com) has an identity theft law, allowing the report to be filed in the location in which the offense occurred, or, the county in which you reside.

The FTC has an ID Theft Affidavit (www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/) that is accepted by many companies (some creditors require a different or additional forms).

The affidavit should be completed and notarized and contains a Fraudulent Account Statement that must be copied for as many accounts that will be disputed on the basis of identity theft..

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