McGrath Announces New Program to Aid Identity Theft Victims
HELENA – Attorney General Mike McGrath on Thursday announced that victims of identity theft can now apply for a special identity theft passport from the Department of Justice, Office of Consumer Protection and Victim Services.
“Identity theft creates a host of problems for its victims, from having to clean up their credit reports and change all their account numbers, to possibly even being arrested for crimes someone else committed using their name,” McGrath said. “The new passport program can make it a little easier for victims to prove to creditors and law enforcement officers that they are who they say they are.”
McGrath proposed the creation of an identity theft passport in the 2005 Legislature. Under the new law, which went into effect in October, the Office of Consumer Protection and Victim Services issues wallet-sized passports to help victims prove who they are and limit the stress they experience.
To qualify for a passport, identity theft victims must:
- file a police report with a Montana law enforcement agency
Once the complaint has been verified by law enforcement, the Office of Consumer Protection and Victim Services issues the wallet-sized passport.
In addition to information about the passport program, the new Identity Theft Web page also provides identity theft victims with step-by-step instructions on what to do to minimize the damage caused by identity thieves. The detailed information includes how to contact the three major credit bureaus and report the crime to local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission. It also lists the various documents victims need to ask for and provide at each step, and includes sample letters they can use to dispute fraudulent charges.
“The new Web page also provides important steps we can all take to better protect our personal information,” McGrath said. “If you haven’t ever checked your credit report or opted out of all those credit card offers that show up in your mail almost every day, I encourage you to visit our Web site and find out how easy it is to do.”