FTC gives identity theft victims a one-stop place to get help

WASHINGTON — Falling victim to identity theft sets off a recovery process that can take months, even years, of tedious work. But the Federal Trade Commission says its revamped website for identity theft victims streamlines much of the paperwork process in reporting the crime and regaining your financial losses and/or good standing.

The site, IdentityTheft.gov, automatically generates affidavits and pre-fills letters and forms to be sent to credit bureaus, businesses, police, debt collectors and the IRS.  And if consumers run into recovery problems, the site suggests alternative approaches.

It will also send identity-theft victims follow up emails and a personalized plan for continuing the recovery process.

The FTC says each plan is tailored to the specific type of identity theft a consumer is facing, offering customized, not generic, advice.

The FTC received 490,000 consumer complaints about identify theft last year, up 47 percent from 2014. The Justice Department estimates that 17.6 million Americans were victims of some form of identity theft in 2014.

You can watch a brief video showing how IdentityTheft.gov works here.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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