The Federal Trade Commission has created a guide to help attorneys and victim advocates provide legal assistance to identity theft victims.
Geared toward resolving issues out of court, the Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims (www.idtheft.gov/probono) describes how advocates can intervene with creditors, credit reporting agencies, debt collectors, and others, as well as self-help measures that victims can take. Victims may need an advocate’s help in a variety of situations: their age, health, language skills, or income prevents them from making effective disputes; they’re being pursued for someone else’s debt; they face uncooperative creditors or credit reporting agencies; or their case is complex.
Step-by-step instructions provide best practices for recovering from identity theft involving financial accounts, and incorporate victims’ rights under various federal statutes. The guide also addresses recovery from less common forms of identity theft, such as when a thief commits tax fraud, or obtains a federal student loan or medical services using stolen information. It includes sample dispute letters for victims and sample attorney follow-up letters to address matters victims are unable to resolve. It also provides checklists, an ID Theft Affidavit, a Victim’s Action Log, federal statutes and regulations, consumer education material, and links to online resources.
The FTC developed the guide in response to the 2007 President’s Identity Theft Task Force recommendation that personalized assistance for identity theft victims should be increased, and that “the American Bar Association, with assistance from the Department of Justice, develop apro bono referral program focusing on assisting identity theft victims with recovery.”
Note that although they call it a guide for ID theft victims, there’s a lot of useful information in the guide for all consumers. Check it out!