Identity theft is one of the fastest growing forms of white-collar crime in the United States and other nations. In a traditional fraud scheme, victims are contacted directly by suspects who use lies and deception to get the victims to part with their money. Identity theft, however, requires no direct communication between criminal and victim. Simply doing things that are part of everyday routine -- charging dinner at a restaurant or items online, submitting required personal information to employers or government agencies, throwing away credit card offers received in the mail, or just having casual contact with people - may give identity thieves enough of an opportunity to get unauthorized access to personal data and commit identity theft. Identity thieves capture information about you and use it to commit fraud, steal your money, fraudulently charge items to your accounts or even create new accounts. According to Florida Attorney General, victims of identity theft can come from any lifestyle regardless of race, gender, age or socioeconomic status.
Florida has the fourth highest number of victims of identity theft based on the Federal Trade Commission Clearinghouse for 2003. Some studieshave estimated the number of identity theft victims in the United States at seven million for the year 2003.
The Tallahassee Police Department Financial Crimes Unit (FCU) is making the following questions with answers available to help citizens with their questions about identity theft and associated topics. Please review all the topic areas for the one that is of interest to you.
The Federal Trade Commission has developed an in-depth informational booklet titled, "Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft" (625kb PDF) to educate citizens about identity theft and to provide helpful solutions. Additionally, FCU members have developed a quick reference pamphlet titled, "What is Identity Theft" that is currently available to view or download.
The above and below underlined sections of text are links to other Internet Web sites to obtain either additional information or examples and forms. If you have any questions please contact the Financial Crimes Unit at (850) 891- 4456.
What is the identity theft law in Florida?
Section 817.568, Florida Statutes - Criminal use of personal identification information, states the following:
Any person who willfully and without authorization fraudulently uses, or possesses with intent to fraudulently use, personal identification information concerning an individual without first obtaining that individual's consent, commits the offense of fraudulent use of personal identification information, which is a felony of the third degree.
What can I do to protect myself?
As with any crime, you can't guarantee that you will never be a victim, but you can minimize your risk. By managing your personal information widely, cautiously and with an awareness of the issue, you can help guard against identity theft. Here's some tips:
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know who you're dealing with. Identity thieves may pose as representatives of banks, Internet service providers (ISPs) and even government agencies to get you to reveal your SSN, mother's maiden name, account numbers, and other identifying information. Before you share any personal information, confirm that you are dealing with a legitimate organization. You can check the organization's Web site as many companies post scam alerts when their name is used improperly, or you can call customer service using the number listed on your account statement or in the telephone book.
- Don't carry your Social Security Card; leave it in a secure place.
- Secure personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help or are having service work done in your home.
- Guard your mail and trash from theft: Deposit outgoing mail in post office collection boxes or at your local post office, rather than in an unsecured mailbox. Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you're planning to be away from home and can't pick up your mail, call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request a vacation hold. The Postal Service will hold your mail at your local post office until you can pick it up or are home to receive it.
- To thwart an identity thief who may pick through your trash or recycling bins to capture your personal information, tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you're discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail. If you do not use the pre-screened credit card offers you receive in the mail, you can opt out by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567- 8688). Please note that you will be asked for your Social Security number in order for the credit bureaus to identify your file so that they can remove you from their lists and you still may receive some credit offers because some companies use different lists from the credit bureaus' lists. For more information, see How can I prevent companies from using my personal information for marketing?
- Carry only the identification information and the number of credit and debit cards that you'll actually need.
- Place passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SSN or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers. When opening new accounts, you may find that many businesses still have a line on their applications for your mother's maiden name. Use a password instead.
- Ask about information security procedures in your workplace or at businesses, doctor's offices or other institutions that collect personally identifying information from you. Find out who has access to your personal information and verify that it is handled securely. Ask about the disposal procedures for those records as well. Find out if your information will be shared with anyone else. If so, ask if you can keep your information confidential.
- Give your SSN only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible. If your state uses your SSN as your driver's license number, ask to substitute another number. Do the same if your health insurance company uses your SSN as your account number.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don't arrive on time. A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover his tracks.
- Be wary of promotional scams. Identity thieves may use phony offers to get you to give them your personal information.
- Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work as well as any copies you may keep of administrative forms that contain your sensitive personal information.
- Cancel all unused credit accounts.
- When ordering new checks, pick them up at the bank, rather than having them sent to your home mailbox.
What should I do if someone has stolen or scammed my personal information or identification documents?
If your information or identification documents were stolen or scammed, you have an opportunity to prevent the misuse of that information if you can take action quickly.
- For financial account information such as credit card or bank account information: Close those accounts immediately. When you open new ones, place passwords on these accounts. Avoid using your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SSN or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
- For SSNs call the toll-free fraud number of any one of the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening new credit accounts in your name. See What are fraud alerts and victim statements?
- To replace a SSN card call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 to get a replacement.
- For driver's license or other identification documents contact the issuing agency. Follow their procedures to place fraud flags and to get replacements.
Once you have taken these precautions, there really isn't anything more you need to do except to check for the signs that your information is being misused. You don't have to file an identity theft report with the police or with the FTC until you find out if your information is actually being misused. If another crime was committed, such as theft of your purse or wallet or your house or car was broken into, report that crime to the police.
I have a computer and use the Internet. What should I be concerned about?
If you're storing personal information such as SSNs, financial records, tax returns, birth dates, or bank account numbers in your computer, the following tips can help you keep your computer and your personal information safe from intruders:
- Update your virus protection software regularly, or when a new virus alert is announced. Computer viruses can have a variety of damaging effects, including introducing program code that causes your computer to send out files or other stored information. Be on the alert for security repairs and patches that you can download from your operating system's Web site.
- Do not download files sent to you by strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don't know. Opening a file could expose your system to a computer virus or a program that could hijack your modem.
- Use a firewall program, especially if you use a high-speed Internet connection like cable, DSL or T-1, which leaves your computer connected to the Internet 24 hours a day. The firewall program will allow you to stop uninvited guests from accessing your computer. Without it, hackers can take over your computer and access your personal information stored on it or use it to commit other crimes.
- Use a secure browser - software that encrypts or scrambles information you send over the Internet - to guard the security of your online transactions. Be sure your browser has the most up-to-date encryption capabilities by using the latest version available from the manufacturer. When submitting information, look for the "lock" icon on the browser's status bar to be sure your information is secure during transmission.
- Try not to store financial information on your laptop unless absolutely necessary. If you do, use a strong password - a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols. Don't use an automatic log-in feature which saves your user name and password so you don't have to enter them each time you log-in or enter a site. And always log off when you're finished. That way, if your laptop gets stolen, it's harder for the thief to access your personal information.
- Before you dispose of a computer, delete personal information. Deleting files using the keyboard or mouse commands may not be enough because the files may stay on the computer's hard drive, where they may be easily retrieved. Use a "wipe" utility program to overwrite the entire hard drive. It makes the files unrecoverable.
Are companies allowed to print my entire credit card number on my receipt?
After December 4, 2006, companies will not be allowed to print your credit or debit card expiration date or more than the last 5 digits of your card number on your electronic receipt. Some businesses will be required to make this change sooner, depending on the way they process credit card transactions. The law will allow receipts that are hand written or mechanically imprinted to show your entire number and expiration date, even after December 4, 2006. For more information see section 605(g) of the FCRA.
How can I prevent companies from using my personal information for marketing?
More organizations are offering consumers choices about how their personal information is used. For example, many let you "opt out" of having your information shared with others or used for marketing purposes. You also can visit the FTC websites Privacy Initiatives.
When should I provide my Social Security number?
Your employer and financial institution will likely need your SSN for wage and tax reporting purposes. Other businesses may ask you for your SSN to do a credit check, like when you apply for a car loan. Sometimes, however, they simply want your SSN for general record keeping. If someone asks for your SSN, ask the following questions:
- Why do you need it?
- How will it be used?
- How do you protect it from being stolen?
- What will happen if I don't give it to you?
If you don't provide your SSN, some businesses may not provide you with the service or benefit you want. Getting satisfactory answers to your questions, though, will help you to decide whether you want to share your SSN with the business. If you have additional questions, contact the Social Service Administration.
What are the first steps I should take if I'm a victim of identity theft?
- Follow up all calls in writing. Send your letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. Keep copies for your files.
- Call the toll-free fraud number of any one of three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge. For more information about fraud alerts, see What are fraud alerts and victim statements?
Once you receive your reports, review them carefully to make sure no fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name or unauthorized changes made to your existing accounts. See What should I look for on a credit report to indicate identity theft? You should continue to check your reports periodically, especially in the first year of discovery, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
Please note: The automated "one-call" process only works for the initial placement of your fraud alert. Orders for additional credit reports or renewals of your fraud alerts must be made separately at each of the three major credit bureaus.
- Contact the creditors (for example, credit card companies, phone companies and other utilities, and banks and other lenders) to close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each creditor, then follow up in writing. It's particularly important to notify credit card companies in writing. See What should I do about unauthorized charges on my credit cards? You may ask creditors for a copy of the application or other business transaction records relating to your identity theft, if you think that this information will be helpful to prove that are you are a victim. Creditors must provide this information free of charge. See Creditor Documentation in How do I prove that I'm an identity theft victim? For more information on closing accounts see What do I do if someone has tampered with my existing accounts? and What do I do if someone has opened new credit accounts in my name?
- File a report with Tallahassee Police Department or the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction in your case. Get a copy of the police report in case the creditors, credit bureaus or others need proof of the crime. See How do I prove that I'm an identity theft victim?
Please note: If you file a report with the Tallahassee Police Department, please complete the Tallahassee Police Department's The Identity Crime Incident Detail Form (PDF).
- File a complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases which are used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps us learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that we may better assist you.
What is the Identity Crime Incident Detail Form from the Tallahassee Police Department?
The Identity Crime Incident Detail Form (PDF) is a form designed to assist you organizing your case prior to your first meeting with an investigator. It also assists the investigator by answering most major questions during the initial investigative phase of the criminal investigation. While this form is somewhat comprehensive in nature with regard to identity theft cases, it may not answer all the questions an investigator may have since each case may have unique features that are not covered in this form. This form will become part of the case file and will considered a sworn statement once you sign the form in the presence of a law enforcement officer.
What should I look for on a credit report to indicate identity theft?
Check your credit reports carefully to make sure the information is accurate. Look for inquiries you didn't initiate, accounts you didn't open and unexplained debts on your legitimate accounts. Check that information like your SSN; addresses); name and any variations, including initials, Jr., Sr., etc.; and employers is correct. Inaccuracies in this information may also be due to typographical errors. Nevertheless, whether the inaccuracies are due to fraud or error, notify the credit bureau as soon as possible by telephone and in writing.
Inquiries on credit reports from potential credit card issuers do not always mean that some one has tried to get credit in your name. Banks and credit card companies often inquire about a consumer's creditworthiness to help them target their marketing efforts. These inquiries will be identified in a designated section of the report.
How can I get copies of my credit reports?
Contact each of the three major credit bureaus:
Equifax - www.equifax.com
To order your report, call: 800-685-1111 or write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
To report fraud, call: 800-525-6285 and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Hearing impaired call 1-800-255-0056 and ask the operator to call the Auto Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111 to request a copy of your report.
Experian - www.experian.com
To order your report, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) or write: P.O. Box 2002, Allen TX 75013
To report fraud, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) and write: P.O. Box 9530, Allen TX 75013 TDD: 1-800-972-0322
Trans Union - www.transunion.com
To order your report, call: 800-888-4213 or write: P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
To report fraud, call: 800-680-7289 and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634 TDD: 1-877-553-7803
How much does a credit report cost?
Each credit bureau may charge you up to $9.00 for a copy of your report. However, you are entitled to one free report a year if you can show that: your report is inaccurate because of fraud; you're on welfare; or you're unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days. There also is no charge if a company has taken adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance or employment, and you request your report within 60 days of receiving the notice of the adverse action.
In addition, a recent amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the major nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit reports, at your request, once every 12 months. Consumers in Florida can order their free reports beginning June 1, 2005. To order your free annual report from one or all the national consumer reporting companies, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free 877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
How do I prove that I'm an identity theft victim?
Identity theft victims often find themselves having to prove that they're victims, not deadbeats trying to get out of paying bad debts. So how do you go about proving you didn't do something? Getting the right documents and getting them to the right people is key.
- The Police Report: The police report is an important document for providing proof of the crime. Many creditors want a copy in order to absolve you of the fraudulent debts. Send a copy to each of the three major credit bureaus. They will block, or remove, the information you're disputing from your credit reports. This may take up to 30 days. The credit bureaus have the right to remove the block, or reinstate the information, if they believe it was wrongly placed. Because this initiative is voluntary, except in a few states, it's important to also follow the dispute procedures of the credit bureau. Contact the credit bureaus to find out more about how this initiative works.
- The ID Theft Affidavit: The FTC, in conjunction with banks, credit grantors and consumer advocates, developed the ID Theft Affidavit to help you close unauthorized accounts and get rid of debts wrongfully attributed to your name. If you don't have a police report or any paperwork from creditors, send the completed ID Theft Affidavit to the three major credit bureaus. They will use it to start the dispute investigation process. You also can send the ID Theft Affidavit to creditors. Not all companies accept the ID Theft Affidavit. They may require you to use their forms instead. Check first.
- Creditor Documentation: Creditor documentation can help you prove that you are a victim. For example, you may be able to show that the signature on an application is not yours. By law (the Fair Credit Reporting Act section 609(e), creditors must give you a copy of the application or other business transaction records relating to your identity theft free of charge. Creditors must provide these records within 30 days of receipt of your request. You also may give permission to any law enforcement agency to get these records. In order to obtain these records, you must mail your request to the address chosen by the creditor. Contact the creditor's fraud department by telephone to find out if the creditor has chosen a specific address.
The creditor is entitled to ask you for:
(1) proof of your identity which may be a government issued ID card, the same type of information the identity thief used to open or access the account, or the type of information the creditor is currently requesting from applicants or customers and
(2) a police report and a completed affidavit which may be either the Identity Theft Affidavit or the creditor's own affidavit.
Once you have resolved your identity theft dispute with the creditor, ask for a letter from the creditor stating that they have closed the disputed accounts and have discharged you of the fraudulent debts. This letter is your best proof if errors relating to this account reappear on your credit report or you mistakenly are contacted again about the fraudulent debt.
What are fraud alerts and victim statements?
There are two types of fraud alerts: an initial alert, and an extended alert.
- An initial alert stays on your credit report for at least 90 days. You may ask that an initial fraud alert be placed on your credit report if you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a victim of identity theft. An initial alert is appropriate if your wallet has been stolen or if you've been taken in by a phishing scam. When you place an initial fraud alert on your credit report, you're entitled to one free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies.
- An extended alert stays on your credit report for seven years. You can have an extended alert placed on your credit report if you've been a victim of identity theft and you provide the consumer reporting company with an identity theft report. When you place an extended alert on your credit report, you're entitled to two free credit reports within twelve months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. In addition, the consumer reporting companies will remove your name from marketing lists for pre-screened credit offers for five years B unless you ask them to put your name back on the list before then.
To place either of these alerts on your credit report, or to have them removed, contact one of the three major credit bureaus. You will be required to provide appropriate proof of your identity: that may include your SSN, name, address and other personal information requested by the consumer reporting company. You may use a personal representative to place or remove an alert.
When a business sees the alert on your credit report, it must verify your identity before issuing credit. As part of this verification process, the business may try to contact you directly. This may cause some delays if you're trying to obtain credit. To compensate for possible delays, you may wish to include a cell phone number, where you can be reached easily, in your alert. Remember to keep all contact information in your alert current.
Are fraud alerts and victim statements always effective?
Fraud alerts and victim statements seem to be generally effective. However, because credit grantors do not have to consider them when extending credit, you should continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially in your first year of discovery, to make sure no new fraudulent activity is taking place.
What do I do if someone has tampered with my existing accounts?
What should I do about unauthorized charges on my credit cards?
The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) establishes procedures for resolving billing errors on your credit card accounts, including fraudulent charges on your accounts and limits your liability for unauthorized credit card charges to $50 per card.
To take advantage of the law's consumer protections, you must:
- Write to the creditor at the address given for "billing inquiries," not the address for sending your payments. Include your name, address, account number and a description of the billing error, including the amount and date of the error.
- Send your letter so that it reaches the creditor within 60 days after the first bill containing the error was mailed to you. If the address on your account was changed by an identity thief and you never received the bill, your dispute letter still must reach the creditor within 60 days of when the creditor would have mailed the bill. This is why it's so important to keep track of your billing statements and immediately follow up when your bills don't arrive on time.
- Send your letter by certified mail, and request a return receipt. This will be your proof of the date the creditor received the letter. Include copies (NOT originals) of sales slips or other documents that support your position. Keep a copy of your dispute letter.
The creditor must acknowledge your complaint in writing within 30 days after receiving it, unless the problem has been resolved. The creditor must resolve the dispute within two billing cycles (but not more than 90 days) after receiving your letter.
What do I do if someone is using my checks?
If your checks have been stolen or misused, close the account and ask your bank to notify the check verification service with which it does business. While no federal law limits your losses if someone steals your checks and forges your signature, state laws may protect you. Most states hold the bank responsible for losses from a forged check. At the same time, most states require you to take reasonable care of your account. For example, you may be held responsible for the forgery if you fail to notify the bank in a timely manner that a check was lost or stolen. Contact your state banking or consumer protection agency for more information.
You can contact major check verification companies directly for the following services:
To request that they notify retailers who use their databases not to accept your checks, call:
TeleCheck: 1-800-710-9898 or 927-0188
Certegy, Inc. (previously Equifax Check Systems): 1-800-437-5120
To find out if the identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name, call: SCAN: 1-800-262-7771
How do I get back money that was stolen from my debit card account or through other electronic fund transfers?
The Electronic Fund Transfer Act provides consumer protections for transactions involving an ATM or debit card or other electronic way to debit or credit an account. It also limits your liability for unauthorized electronic fund transfers.
It's important to report lost or stolen ATM and debit cards immediately because the amount you can be held responsible for depends on how quickly you report the loss.
- If you report your ATM card lost or stolen within two business days of discovering the loss or theft, your losses are limited to $50.
- If you report your ATM card lost or stolen after two business days, but within 60 days after a statement showing an unauthorized electronic fund transfer, you can be liable for up to $500 of what a thief withdraws.
- If you wait more than 60 days, you could lose all the money that was taken from your account after the end of the 60 days and before you report your card missing.
The best way to protect yourself in the event of an error or fraudulent transaction is to call the financial institution and follow up in writing - by certified letter, return receipt requested - so you can prove when the institution received your letter. Keep a copy of the letter you send for your records.
After receiving notification about an error on your statement, the institution generally has 10 business days to investigate. The financial institution must tell you the results of its investigation within three business days after completing it and must correct an error within one business day after determining that the error has occurred. If the institution needs more time, it may take up to 45 days to complete the investigation - but only if the money in dispute is returned to your account and you are notified promptly of the credit. At the end of the investigation, if no error has been found, the institution may take the money back if it sends you a written explanation.
Note: VISA and MasterCard have voluntarily agreed to limit consumers' liability for unauthorized use of their debit cards in most instances to $50 per card, no matter how much time has elapsed since the discovery of the loss or theft of the card.
What do I do if someone has opened new credit accounts in my name?
Contact the fraud department of each creditor. Close the accounts and dispute any charges run up on those accounts. Do not pay the charges. Most creditors will require you to fill out fraud forms. To save yourself time, ask if the company accepts the ID Theft Affidavit. If not, ask the representative to send you the company's fraud dispute forms. Find out what, if any, other documentation, such as a police report, the company will need. You may ask creditors for a copy of the application or other business transaction records relating to your identity theft, if you think that this information will be helpful to prove that are you are a victim. Creditors must provide this information free of charge. See Creditor Documentation in How do I prove that I'm an identity theft victim?
What do I do if the identity thief has gotten a driver's license in my name?
If you think your name or SSN is being used by an identity thief to get a Florida driver's license or a non-driver's ID card, contact DHSMV-ID Theft Information or the state you have your license from.
What do I do if the thief has obtained phone service in my name?
If an identity thief has established phone service in your name, is making unauthorized calls that seem to come from - and are billed to - your cellular phone, or is using your calling card and PIN, contact your service provider immediately to cancel the account and/or calling card. Open new accounts and choose new PINs. If you're having trouble getting fraudulent phone charges removed from your account or getting an unauthorized account closed, contact the appropriate agency from the list below.
For local service, contact your state Public Utility Commission, listed in the Blue Pages of your telephone directory.
For cellular phones and long distance, contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - www.fcc.gov. The FCC regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. You can contact the FCC's Consumer Information Bureau to find out about information, forms, applications and current issues before the FCC. Call: 1-888-CALL-FCC; TTY: 1-888-TELL-FCC; or write: Federal Communications Commission, Consumer Information Bureau, 445 12th Street, SW, Room 5A863, Washington, DC 20554. You can file complaints via the online complaint form at www.fcc.gov/cgb/complaints.html, or e-mail questions to email@example.com.
What do I do if someone has used my name in his or her arrest?
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has developed a program to assist with identity theft claims and those individuals who are concerned that their personal identifiers may have been used in an arrest record contained within the Florida Computerized Criminal History (CCH) files. Individuals can review their criminal history files by using the following methods:
1. Request a public records check -- While there is a $23 fee associated with this process, fingerprints are not initially required and response is immediate (via Internet). This allows you to check any person's criminal record (family members, household workers, etc.).
2. Initiate a compromised identity claim -- This service is only for individuals who believe they are victims of identity theft and/or have had their personal identification information stolen or misused in the past and believe that their information may have been used in a Florida criminal history file. To initiate this claim, the claimant must complete a Compromised Identity Review Claim Form, which includes a fingerprint card. The claimant must have his or her fingerprints taken directly on this Claim Form by a law enforcement agency. To insure the integrity of the fingerprints, the law enforcement agency will be asked to route the form to the FDLE at the address provided. The FDLE will only accept Claim Forms that are submitted by a law enforcement agency and in an official agency envelope (unless otherwise approved by the Compromised Identity Program Unit). The FDLE will compare personal identifiers and submitted fingerprints of the claimant against the identifiers and fingerprints contained in the Computerized Criminal History (CCH) files and the Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS). If a fingerprint analysis verifies that the claimant's personal identifiers appear in another individual's arrest record contained in the Florida CCH files, the FDLE will then work with local law enforcement in an attempt to clear the fraudulent information from the CCH files. It is important to note that the FDLE, as Florida's central repository of criminal history information, only records and stores information provided by Florida criminal justice agencies. The FDLE may not remove arrest or demographic information contained in the CCH files without appropriate documentation from the submitting agency or at the direction of the court. Please be advised that some submitting agencies are reluctant to grant the FDLE permission to remove information from the CCH files.
Once the review of your claim has been completed, the FDLE will provide a letter stating the results of your claim and may issue a certificate for verification of your identity.
For additional, visit the FDLE Compromised Identity Services website.
What can businesses do to help?
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse recommends the following practices:
- Conduct regular staff training, new-employee orientations, and spot checks on proper information care.
- Support and participate in financial crimes law enforcement investigations.
- Limit data collection to the minimum of information needed; for example, limit requests for social security numbers.
- Put limits on data disclosure. For example, must social security numbers be printed on paychecks, parking permits, staff badges, time sheets, training program rosters, staff promotion lists, monthly account statements, client reports, etc.?
- Restrict data access to only those employees with a legitimate need to know. Audit electronic trails. Impose strict penalties for browsing and illegitimate access.
- Conduct employee background checks. Screen cleaning services, temp services, etc.
- Include responsible information-handling practices in business school courses, and even in elementary schools, if children have access to computers.
Who do I report mail fraud to?
Other Useful web sites: