Thursday, May 7, 2015

Consumer Alert: Your Identity is Stolen. Now What?

LITTLE ROCK – Identity thieves can hit at any time, wrecking your financial integrity. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network, nearly 2,500 Arkansans filed ID theft complaints in 2014, ranking the Natural State 15th in victims of identity theft.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued today’s consumer alert to educate consumers on the steps they should take to restore their credit if their identity is stolen.

“My office is committed to helping victims of identity theft,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “We have counselors available to guide consumers through the process of recovering their credit, and offer ID Theft Passports to assist victims in re-establishing their good names.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for those who have fallen victim to ID thieves:
  • File a fraud alert with one of the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian or TransUnion.
  • File a police report with your local law enforcement and get a copy of the report as soon as it is available.
  • Get a copy of an identity theft booklet, which provides step-by-step instructions for dealing with identity thieves, including affidavits and forms for your financial institutions.
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Cancel any accounts you believe have been compromised or have been opened fraudulently.
  • Consider placing a security freeze on your credit report to restrict access and help prevent additional instances of identity theft.
  • Consider applying for an ID Theft Passport from the Attorney General’s Office.
Although credit card fraud is one of the most talked about forms of identity theft benefits fraud from government documents is more prevalent in Arkansas, making up more than a quarter of ID theft types, according to the FTC.

Many consumers are rightfully concerned about the safety of their personal and financial information and want to prevent fraud and identity theft. Attorney General Rutledge encourages Arkansans to never give their personal information over the phone or via email, to use strong passwords on all online accounts and to be diligent in reviewing all types of financial statements.

Committing identity theft in Arkansas is a felony and comes with a sentence that could include incarceration, fines up to $25,000 and restitution. The Arkansas Administrative Office of the Courts reported 150 ID theft convictions in 2014.

For more information on identity theft, to apply for an ID Theft Passport or other consumer related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General's Office at (800) 482-8982.

Tags: consumer alert, identity theft, stolen identity, To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". This site is an Outreach of the ARRA News Service.

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