If technology has made emphatic strides in anti-fraud tools and scam prevention measures, it has also made reporting identity theft, a breeze. No longer do victims need to queue up at cyber police cells or employ expensive attorneys to get a crime report filed. Technology has made reporting identity fraud, simpler, safer and more importantly, with anonymity of the victim.

Reporting identity theft online

This era has witnessed the computerization and digitization of all anti-fraud centers, both governmental and non-governmental. It is now possible to use the following simple steps in getting a complaint filed:

  • Enter the website of the agency like Action Fraud, the FBI or the FTC
  • Make use of internet-enabled tools for reporting identity theft
  • Enter all pertinent details of the identity theft online. Proof of identity theft can be uploaded online
  • Pass the eligibility test for determining if the crime report asked for is genuine
  • Generate a reference number for getting hard and soft copies of crime report
  • The reference ID enables tracking of complaints on a periodic basis

Collaborations between anti-fraud agencies

No longer do the law enforcers work in isolation. The present day identity theft and scams use sophisticated technology in eliciting details like date of birth, SSN, passwords and PINs for online financial fraud. After committing the fraud, they move to entirely different geographies, so that even the scam prevention entities have joined hands. Following are few examples, where coalition has eased and speeded up reporting identity crimes:

  • Action Fraud is a coalition between the Government, the London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau
  • The Take Five campaign is a significant gesture for speedy reporting of identity theft and for nabbing criminals, and includes the FFA, the CIFAS, banks in the UK, the London Police and partner organizations.
  • The Internet Crime Complaint Center is a collaboration in the USA, between entities like the FBI, the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National White Collar Crime Center

The good news for victims is that these collaborations implement multi-pronged strategies for resolution, as well as a single-window approach in solving identity theft.

Reporting identity theft on social media

Social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, to mention a few, have made reporting identity theft effective by:

  • Cost effectiveness in reporting identity theft to a large group of friends and acquaintances. Besides, warning friends, it may so happen that friends living in different parts of the world may have some valuable information on the scammer
  • All legal agencies for scam prevention command strong presence on social media. Better connectivity leads to better reporting of identity thefts
  • It is easy to connect to like-minded people, probably victims, who have had similar experiences with identity theft. Creating such a community and sharing experiences will give clarity on both proactive and reactive measures, including damage control.

Reporting identity theft has been made quicker. With banks and financial institutions centralizing operations under core banking, locking and freezing of cards and accounts can happen at the click of a button, stopping identity theft from assuming alarming proportions.

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