Identity theft assistance refers to any type of help, support, and assistance for restoration that may be given to an individual or a business after an identity theft has occurred. Some types of identity theft assistance are available specifically to those who have made advance preparations, like purchasing protective software or identity theft insurance. Other types of identity theft assistance may be available to anyone who becomes a victim of identity theft.
Credit card companies and financial institutions may have special programs to support customers who fall victim to identity theft. The resources provided may include web pages, fact sheets, or brochures that offer helpful advice for steps to take. For example, there might be advice on notifying credit bureaus with toll-free numbers for them. Victims may advised to close accounts, file a police report, and report the theft to the proper government agency. The company might also make available forms that may prove useful in dealing with creditors and credit bureaus, and sample letters for assisting in disputing charges, and a phone service staffed by specially trained representatives may also be available.
There are also government agencies to assist victims of identity fraud. In the United States, one may report the matter to and seek identity theft assistance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center. In Australia, one would contact the Australian Minister for Justice and Customs, and possibly the Attorney General’s Department, and the Australian Crime Commission.
In the United States, there is also a nonprofit called Identity Theft Resource Center® (ITRC®) that provides identity theft assistance to victims at no charge, whether the victim is an individual person or a business. The website is published in English, Spanish, and Chinese, Other nonprofits for the same purpose include Victims Assistance of America, Inc. (VAA) and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse (PRC). Because identity theft assistance is their main focus, these organizations give very detailed information about steps to take and resources to be aware of, even more so than financial institutions, so their websites are worth checking. At least one offers toll free phone assistance for victims, as well.