Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that it replaced its Identity Theft Affidavit with a new Identity Theft Report (ITR). The report will alert you that you have has become a victim of identity theft and that it has contacted law enforcement in an attempt to resolve the crime.
In 2015, Maryland was the fourth highest per capita for identity theft. The FTC received 11,006 reports of identity theft by Maryland residents. Nationwide, reports to the FTC showed an increase of 47% for identity theft in 2015, with more than 490,220 affected. Identity theft has widespread economic impact, estimated at $112 billion during the last six years. It can take a person six months and 200 hours of work — phone calls, letters, tracking and reconciling — to recover from identity theft.
Consumers, and even your employees and potential employees, can use the new resources to let your business know that information you have about them may be fraudulent. This is especially important if you report customer records to a credit bureau, housing agent or check verification service.
As a business, it’s your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of the data furnished to a credit reporting agency. In fact, the Fair Credit Reporting Act’s Furnisher Rule requires a business to have policies and procedures in writing regarding the reliability of the information it provides about its customers.
The ITR is complete with the FTC’s name and logo at the top. Every victim’s report includes a unique number as well.
If you receive an ITR from one of your employees or a customer, the victim has officially reported the crime to the FTC under penalty of perjury. It will include custom information regarding the specific areas of fraud such as false accounts, unauthorized purchases, phony change of address or other details disputed by the victim. You’ll need to review the information with the information you have on record and make changes as necessary to protect the victim — and your business.
For more information about the new ITR, visit the FTC’s one-stop-shop on identity theft at www.identitytheft.gov.