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FTC To Study ID-Theft Victims' Experiences With National Credit Bureaus

Right before the July 4th holiday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced plans to conduct a study of ID-theft victims' experiences with getting help from the three national credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. According to the FTC press release:

"The proposed survey will examine the remedies available to victims under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act of 2003 (FACT Act). Among other things, the FACT Act gave consumers the right to place fraud alerts on their credit files if they are, or suspect they may become, victims of identity theft; block information on their credit reports that resulted from identity theft; and obtain copies of their credit reports free of charge. The survey will seek information from identity theft victims who contacted the FTC between January 1 and May 30, 2008, and will inquire about their experiences when they contacted one or more credit reporting agencies and when they sought to use their FACT Act rights".

The FTC site provides a copy of the proposed survey. I read it and it asks several direct questions about how well the three credit bureaus assisted ID-theft victims with fraud alerts, credit freezes, obtaining free credit reports, and blocking items on their credit reports caused by identity thieves. Survey participants will be able to indicate their (dis)satifaction with the ease of contact and quality of customer service they received from the credit bureaus.

The proposed study will include only those ID-theft victims who have filed complaints with the FTC between the dates above. So, if you filed a complain with the FTC before January 1st, or didn't file a complaint at all, you won't be approached by the FTC. This is one reason (among several) why it is important for ID-theft victims to report incidents to local police, the FBI, and the FTC. If you have been the victim of identity theft and haven't filed a complaint with the FTC, I encourage you to file a complaint today with the FTC. The FTC site has forms in English and Spanish.

To learn more about the three national credit bureaus, you can browse the Credit Bureaus section of this blog.

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