FTC adds consumer guides, complaint system to ID theft website
WASHINGTON (1/29/16)--Victims of identity theft can now rapidly file a complaint and get a free, personalized recovery guide under the new IdentifyTheft.gov website unveiled Thursday by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The site was also redesigned to be accessible on mobile devices and tablets, with a Spanish version. It now features a number of other easy-to-use tools.
“Here at the FTC, identity theft is one of our top consumer complaints. Last year, we received more than 490,000 identity theft complaints, which is a 47% increase over 2014," said FTC Chair Edith Ramirez in a press call announcing the updates, adding that the U.S. Department of Justice estimated 17.6 million American were victims in 2014.
The updated website’s new features includes a simplified step-by-step checklist tailored to the specific type of identity theft a consumer is facing. The advice consumers receive is not generic, but instead customized for their individual needs.
When a consumer initiates a response plan through IdentityTheft.gov, the site automatically generates affidavits and prefills letters and forms to be sent to credit bureaus, businesses, police, debt collectors and the Internal Revenue Service. Should a consumer’s recovery run into issues, the site will suggest alternative approaches.
Once a consumer completes their initial report on the site, they will receive follow up emails and can return to their personalized plan online to continue the recovery process.
IdentityTheft.gov is also available in Spanish at RobodeIdentidad.gov, and allows Spanish-speaking consumers to view the automatically generated letters and other documents in Spanish, but print them in English for sending to the relevant recipients.