FILE AN IDENTITY THEFT AFFIDAVIT WITH THE FTC – EXPECT THAT THEY WILL DO SOMETHING WITH THE INFORMATION?
One of the popular misconceptions about the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration is, that when you report identity theft crimes to them, that these agencies will actually do something with the information you provide to protect you or initiate an investigation on your behalf. The truth is that both the FTC and the SSA will do nothing with the information you provide other than perhaps file it. There are some exceptions to this general rule of inaction, but these are few and far between. Theft of social security benefits is one exception. Hijacking of your social security number and using it for other illegal purposes will not be investigated by the SSA.
We have written extensively on the Public Relations campaigns of the FTC in their mistaken attempt to assure us that they are fighting this crime wave. However their pronouncements have no real substance to support any factual base for their competency in dealing with the crime wave of identity theft. After all, what can 14 employees within the FTC actually do with over 8 million reported cases per year? Here is a copy of the letter returned to a client following a report by the client of identity theft as outlined on the FTC website.
References in this letter to sharing the data with police departments are true, however we are aware of no police department that accesses or uses this information - and we have talked with many departments over the last two years. Raw and unverified information placed into the FTC Sentinal database is of no use to the police in investigating crime.
Please note, they do provide a brochure, but at the same time say nothing about what if any action will be taken. From long and hard learned lessons we are confident that they will only file the report and do nothing.
June 21, 2006
Re: FTC Ref. No. NNNNNNN
Thank you for contacting us about identity theft. The information you have requested is enclosed. We hope it provides information that will be useful to you. Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns about identity theft.
You can always reach us in three ways:
1) you can call us toll-free at 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338);
2) you can visit our website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft; or
3) you can write to us at:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
Washington, DC 20580
For consumer problems not related to identity theft, please call the FTC's Consumer Response Center toll-free at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357), or visit the FTC's website at http://www.ftc.gov/.
We appreciate any comments or suggestions you may have. Please mail any feedback to us at the above address. The efficacy of our identity theft tracking and referral program is dependent upon information we receive from people like you. Thank you for contacting us. How We Use Your Information
We use personally-identifying information gathered from consumers in various ways to further our consumer protection and competition activities. We collect this information under the authority of the Federal Trade Commission Act and other laws we enforce or administer. We enter the information you provide into our database to make it available to our attorneys and investigators involved in law enforcement. We also may share it with a wide variety of other government agencies enforcing consumer protection, competition, and other laws.
If you contact us because you have been the victim of Identity Theft, we also may share some information you provide with certain private entities, such as credit bureaus and any companies you may have complained about, if we believe that doing so might help resolve identify theft-related problems.
In addition, when you submit a complaint, you may be contacted by the FTC or any of the agencies or private entities to whom your complaint has been referred.
In other limited circumstances, including requests from Congress, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from private individuals, or in accordance with our public record rules, we may be required by law to disclose the information you submit.
The information you provide is up to you. If you don't provide your name or contact information, it may be impossible for us to refer, respond to, or investigate your complaint or request.
Identity Theft Clearinghouse Enclosures:1. Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft (CRE-02)