California

Dealing with Identity Theft: Self-Help Form Letters

Authored By: LawHelp Interactive
Contents
Introduction Before you start using the forms Forms

Introduction

What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It is a serious crime that can cause problems with your finances, credit history, and reputation – and it can take time, money, and patience to resolve.

If you have been the victim of identity theft, it could mean someone has used your name to make purchases, get credit cards, rent an apartment, or obtain utilities without your permission. In some cases, thieves may have received medical services in your name, re-routed your tax refund, or even impersonated you during contact with law enforcement.

Identity theft may also include someone using checks on your account. This could be from stealing your checkbook or electronically obtaining access to your checking account. Use of an ATM card or credit card that you did not approve is also identity theft. 

In some cases, identity theft occurs within families to children, seniors, and domestic violence survivors, making reporting and recovery especially difficult.


How Might it Impact Me?

Even if you are able to resolve a financial identity theft issue with your bank, this use of your name and credit history can result in you still getting collection letters for things you did not purchase. 

It can also result in negative marks on your credit report, causing you problems in getting credit or paying a higher interest rate.

Becoming the victim of an identity theft can be a complicated and frustrating time in your life.


What Can I Do?

The Federal Trade Commission has created letters (in this booklet) that consumers can use to notify a debt collector or credit bureau of the theft of your identity.

To use the letters, you must first report the crime of identity theft to the police.  You do not need to know the name of the person who used your identity. Show the police the debt collection letters or other confirmation that you are the victim of this crime. 

The three forms below use material created by the Federal Trade Commission to help you fill out the forms by answering a few questions.

You can also visit the National Identity Theft Victims Assistance Network to learn more. 

Before you start using the forms

·The information provided and the interactive interviews will give you legal information, not legal advice.

·These forms are not for commercial use and charging for use in any way is prohibited.

·If you do not already have it, you will need to download free Adobe Flash Player to view the interactive interviews.

·If you do not have Microsoft Word, you will need to download free Microsoft Word Viewer to print the forms.

Forms

The three links below will take you to an interactive interview. After you answer the questions, a letter will be created based on your answers.

 

Letter to Creditor 

Use this interactive interview for responding to someone collecting a bill that is in your name, but a bill you did not authorize. You will need a copy of the bill in hand when you start the interview. 

You will also need to provide a copy of your proof of your identity. 

Click below to use the interactive interview for a Letter to a Creditor, directly collecting their own bill.  This might be a credit card statement you received that contains charges you didn’t make or authorize.  It can be any situation where your credit or identity was used without your permission.

Click here for the Letter to Creditor – Identity Theft

 

Letter to Debt Collector

Use this interactive interview for responding to a company or law firm that is a Debt Collector, or collecting a bill that is in your name but you did not authorize. You will need a copy of their letter in hand when you start the interview. 

You will also need to provide a copy of your police report and proof of your identity, by copying these and putting them in the letter.  Click below to use the interactive interview for a Letter to Debt Collector.

Click here for the Letter to Debt Collector – Identity Theft

 

Letter to Credit Bureau

Use this interactive interview to create a letter to a Credit Bureau to seek investigation and removal from your credit report of items that are the result of identity theft. You will need a copy of your credit report in hand when you start the interview. 

You can obtain a free copy of your credit report from each credit bureau hereYou do not have to pay for a copy of your credit report.  One credit report from each company is available to you free each year. 

You will mail the letter and attachment, a copy of your credit report with the incorrect items circled, a copy of the police report you made of the identity theft and proof of your identity with the letter. 

Click below to use the interactive interview for a Letter to a Credit Bureau.

Click here for the Letter to Credit Bureau – Identity Theft