Why Won’t the Police Take a Report?
Thomas Flaherty was shocked to discover someone had opened a credit card and line of credit in his name. But the New York City man was even more surprised when his local police precinct refused to take a report about the identity theft.
Flaherty discovered a significant amount of unauthorized charges had been made in his name during a routine check of his credit report.
I contacted the credit reporting agencies and the issuers of the fraudulent accounts. The credit agencies initiated a 90 day fraud alert and the bank has started an internal investigation, he explained. Both the agencies and the bank asked me to also file a police report.
But Flaherty said he hit a brick wall when he went to the New York Police Dept.
He was told he needed more than his credit report to prove he was a victim of a crime. Can you shed any light on the requirements for proving you have been a victim of identity theft?? he asked.
According to a publication jointly prepared by the Crime Prevention Section and Special Frauds Division of the NYPD, there are no specific requirements for reporting identity theft. Victims are advised simply to contact the police.
Odds are you just spoke to the wrong person at your local precinct. A uniformed officer is likely to be less knowledgeable about identity theft, for example, than someone in the detective squad is.
Try once more to make a report. But this time, ask specifically to speak to a detective.
Bring any documentation that you have, including your credit report, collection letters and correspondence with the issuers of the fraudulent accounts.
It’s also helpful to have a notarized ID Theft Affidavit, available from the Federal Trade Commission.
Be persistent if the police still decline to take a report. If you can’t get the local police to take a report, try your county police. If that doesn’t work, try your state police. You can also try filing a report in the place where the fraudulent charges were actually made.