Crimes, Loans and Taxes: Three Other Important Types Of Identity Theft
By R. Kurtz (Kurt) Holloway and Elizabeth P. Lester, contributing author and project intern
This series has detailed the steps to recovering from identity theft dealing with your credit and bank accounts. While theft of money and information in new and existing accounts under a person’s name is by far the most common type of identity theft, there are many others. Here is a list of three critical areas in which identity theft can and does occur which could create big headaches for you.
- Criminal Proceedings - This type of theft occurs when someone is arrested and gives your personal information such as your Social Security Number, address, or date of birth as identifying information. Now your personal information is linked to a criminal record. If you discover this, the immediate step to take is to contact the local police in your area, provide information to verify you are not the perpetrator and seek their assistance. The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse can offer you more detailed guidance on its website as to what to do next in cases of criminal identity theft. https://www.privacyrights.org/criminal-identity-theft-what-to-do-if-it-happens-to-you
- Student Loans - Even students are at risk of becoming victims of identity theft by having a thief wrack up loads of debt under the student’s name. There are many ways that you as a student may be at risk of having your information stolen and used to apply for student loans. While you are within your rights to have the loan canceled if it resulted from fraudulent action, you have to take extra steps to prove your identity as well as your claim that you were not the party responsible for signing the loan. The U.S. Department of Education can be used as a resource in cases of identity theft with student loans and offer additional resources on its website http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oig/misused/idtheft.html
- Taxes - Completing your taxes correctly and on-time can already be a greatly frustrating task. But finding out that a false tax return was filed in your name and fraudulent refund claimed will create much more stress and work for you. Be alert to possible identity theft if you receive an IRS notice or letter that states that:
- More than one tax return for you was filed.
- You have a balance due, refund, offset or have had collection actions taken against you for a year you did not file a tax return, or
- IRS records indicate you received wages from an employer unknown to you.
- It is important to respond immediately to any notice from the Internal Revenue Service indicating that this has happened to you. You can refer to their website to learn what to do next to fix the fraudulent tax returns. http://www.irs.gov/uac/Taxpayer-Guide-to-Identity-Theft
Identity theft happens in a number of ways to people of many different age groups and income brackets. Over the course of this series, you have been able to read about what to do immediately if you are a victim of identity theft, the proper organizations to contact, ways to recover the damage done to you, and the means to protect your identity in the future. It is important to stay alert and carefully monitor your financial and personal transactions. The best ways to protect yourself from identity theft are to be very discreet and selective when giving out any personal information and obtain your free credit report every year and review it carefully.
If you do find yourself a victim of identity theft, a knowledgeable consumer protection law attorney can also guide you through the process, help you assert your rights and restore your financial reputation. Contact Kurt Holloway for help at 610-323-7464.