Your rights as a victim
It’s important to know your rights as a victim when you are working to recover from Identity Theft. Consumer advocates have made great strides in recent years to help secure special protections to help you make a safe and speedy recovery from ID theft.
Your Credit Report
- You have the right to place a fraud alert on your credit files. The initial alert lasts for 90 days, but if you like, you may place an extended fraud alert that stays in place for seven years.
- You have the right to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. This is in addition to your free annual credit report from https://www.annualcreditreport.com .
- You have the right to dispute fraudulent, inaccurate or outdated information on your credit report. The bureaus must investigate your dispute in a timely manner and remove any incorrect information from your file.
- You may have the right to place a security freeze on your credit report, though this varies depending on what state you live in.
- You are only liable for $50 worth of fraudulent credit card charges. Most credit card companies will waive this limited liability for ID theft victims. If you wait more than 60 days to report the fraudulent charges to the credit card company, you lose this right and may be responsible for all of the fraudulent charges.
- You are only liable for $50 worth of fraudulent ATM withdrawals, but you must report the lost/stolen card within 2 business days.
- You are not liable for fraudulent electronic withdrawals (non-ATM) as long as you report the fraudulent withdrawal to the financial institution within 60 days.
- Other financial losses, like fraudulent accounts or phony checks, depend on your location. Check with your state attorney general’s office to find out what your liability is.
You have many more rights under the law, particularly if you are accused of a crime related to identity theft. Start with your state Attorney General’s office, as your state may offer greater legal protection than federal statutes. To find out how to contact your state AG, visit the National Association of Attorneys General online.
For more information, download our free eBook, “ID Theft: Protecting and Restoring Your Good Name,” or check out our online course on Identity Theft Prevention, available here in our FIT Academy. For more information about National Protect Your Identity Week (NPYIW) or to find a local PYIW event near you, visit ProtectYourIDNow.org.
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This post is part of the Identity Theft Recovery, a series of articles and resources designed to help people recover their lives after falling victims to identity theft. View the rest of the articles here.