New Tools Help Identity Theft Victims Fight Back and Recover

The Federal Trade Commission announced enhancements to its website for victims of identity theft. FTC Photo.
The Federal Trade Commission announced enhancements to its website for victims of identity theft. FTC Photo

Identity theft victims can fight back with new tools from the Federal Trade Commission’s one-stop IdentityTheft.gov website, agency officials say.

The upgraded website, integrated with the FTC’s consumer complaint system, allows a victim to rapidly file an identity theft complaint and get a personalized recovery guide streamlining the many steps involved, officials say. Easy-to-use tools help victims create the documents they need to alert police, credit bureaus, the IRS and others.

“The FTC’s new IdentityTheft.gov website empowers consumers to fight back faster and more effectively against identity thieves,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez said.

In 2015, the FTC said, the agency received over 490,000 consumer complaints about identity theft, a 47 percent increase over the previous year. The Department of Justice estimates that 17.6 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2014.

“As most Americans know, we live in an age when it’s not a matter of if but when you will become a victim of identity theft,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said. “The FTC’s website is a great place for consumers to go for practical and personalized help to recover from the financial mess created by identity theft.”

The updated website walks consumers through a simplified step-by-step checklist tailored to the specific type of identity thefts they are facing.

The FTC's Identity Theft website offers easy-to-use tools to help victims. FTC Photo
The FTC’s Identity Theft website offers easy-to-use tools to help victims. FTC Photo

When a consumer uses IdentityTheft.gov, the site will automatically generate affidavits and pre-fill letters and forms to be sent to credit bureaus, businesses, police, debt collectors and the IRS, officials said. If a consumer’s recovery runs into obstacles, the site will suggest alternative approaches. Once a consumer completes an initial report on the site, he or she will receive follow-up emails and can return to a personalized online plan to continue the recovery process.

President Barack Obama in October 2014 directed federal agencies to create a consolidated site with essential information for consumers. An initial version was launched in May 2015 with checklists for consumers based on certain types of identity theft. The FTC also provides materials on its website for consumers, businesses and law enforcement on how to prevent identity theft and remain vigilant for other scams.

What’s your experience with identity fraud crimes and recovery? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement
7 Social Security Blunders That Can Ruin Your Retirement

Making even one of these mistakes can easily cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money
The 10 Best Outdoor Home Upgrades for Your Money

There’s still time this summer to make improvements to the exterior of your home. These offer the best payback.

10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45
10 Products That Upgrade Your Home for Less Than $45

Make a fresh start with these affordable Amazon buys.

15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today
15 of the Fastest-Growing Jobs Today

Times are tough, but these career fields are thriving.

This Online Bank Rated Best for Second Year in a Row
This Online Bank Rated Best for Second Year in a Row

This bank pays interest without charging monthly fees, but there’s a downside.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk
Why Cloth Masks May Increase Your Coronavirus Risk

A new study finds that wearing a cloth mask can backfire if you don’t clean it properly.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.