Identity theft affidavit: What it is and when to submit one

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In a Nutshell

The Federal Trade Commission has created a user-friendly identity theft affidavit form — known as the FTC’s identity theft report — that victims can complete online to document the facts surrounding their identity theft.
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The Federal Trade Commission created the online form that can help victims make an identity theft affidavit — a sworn, written statement — and begin the process of recovery.

The first step: Go to the FTC’s IdentityTheft.gov site and choose the “Get Started” tab.

Every identity theft case is unique — the one similarity being that the victim feels violated and frustrated. But no matter how complex your identity theft case might be, the sooner the recovery process starts, the sooner you can get your life back.



What is an identity theft affidavit?

As scary as data breaches are, and as intimidating as it may seem to deal with identity theft, the truth is that the recovery process can be very doable. It just takes some legwork and diligence.

The FTC set up a one-stop shop at IdentityTheft.gov to help. This website provides guidance and specific recovery plans based on the unique circumstances of different types of identity theft.

Included is an identity theft affidavit, or identity theft report form. Once this report is completed, the victim can submit it to entities where the fraudulent activity occurred.

FAST FACTS

Do you have to fill out a separate ID theft affidavit for every company?

Many companies will accept the FTC’s identity theft affidavit as documentation of the fraudulent activity. Before you complete redundant affidavits, check with the company to see if it accepts the FTC’s affidavit. Work smarter — not harder!

When should you submit an identity theft affidavit?

You should fill out the FTC’s online form if and whenever you learn that you’ve been a victim of identity theft.

The IRS has its own identity theft affidavit to complete if your identity — specifically your Social Security number — is used to file a fraudulent federal tax return. It’s known as IRS Form 14039. Keep in mind that identity theft victims can complete this form as a preventive measure if they don’t know whether someone used their information to file a tax return but they know they’re a victim of identity theft.

Why the identity theft affidavit is important

For identity theft victims, the primary goal is to reclaim their identities and reduce their risk of future victimization. The identity theft affidavit can help because …

  • It attests to the fact that the identity theft happened.
  • It can serve to flag current fraud and reduce the risk of future fraud.
  • It can help in the effort to alleviate the victim of responsibility for debts that resulted from fraudulent activity.
  • It can help with disputing any errors on the victim’s credit reports.

There are many websites and resources focused on the identity theft recovery process. To be on the safe side, and to make sure the information you are receiving is accurate, we recommend utilizing government agency websites, which commonly end in .gov.

Here are a few to get you started.

Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Resources
IRS Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft
U.S. Department of Justice Identity theft information
USA.gov Identity theft information

Bottom line

Completing the FTC’s identity theft recovery plan is a critical step in the identity theft recovery process. Not only does it help you document the identity theft incident, it can help the victim avoid liability for debt sustained from the fraudulent activity.

When federal tax returns are filed fraudulently, the IRS’ Identity Theft Affidavit (Form 14039) should be completed.

If you know you’ve been a victim of identity theft but aren’t sure how to cover your bases, complete both the IRS and FTC forms. You can never have too much documentation or take too much precaution when you’re the victim of identity theft.


About the author: Sarah Schaut is a Canadian living in sunny Florida. She’s an economic crimes detective at a city police department and an expert in credit, fraud and mortgages. Read more.