What is Identity Theft?

Identity theft occurs when someone obtains and uses your personal information without your permission to commit a fraud.  Identity theft is a state and federal crime. If you think you are a victim of identity theft, immediately contact your local police department or sheriff’s office and file a police report.

Identity Theft Unit

The Ohio Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section has created an Identity Theft Unit to help victims of identity theft rectify the effects of identity theft by working with credit reporting agencies, creditors, collectors, and any other entity who may have information that was obtained under fraudulent circumstances and by providing the necessary information to victims of identity theft to remedy the effects themselves. The unit currently offers two programs: Traditional Assistance and Self-Help Assistance.

Visit IdentityTheft.gov, the federal government’s one-stop resource to help you report and recover from identity theft.

Traditional Assistance

The office will provide you with a consumer advocate who will personally reach out to various credit agencies, creditors, collectors, etc.; the advocate will be responsible for communicating with various entities and for keeping you informed. This option is ideal for someone who does not feel comfortable in attempting to rectify the effects of identity theft himself. For this program, you must file and submit a copy of a police report to our office, and you must complete and submit an identity theft affidavit and an identity theft notification form.

Self-Help Assistance

The Ohio Attorney General’s office will provide you with a step-by-step guide for you to attempt to rectify the effects of identity theft yourself. The guide will include necessary contact information and form letters to dispute information on your credit report, dispute charges, etc.  This option is ideal for someone who wishes to contact credit reporting agencies, creditors, etc. by himself and to move at his own pace.  If you choose this option, you will still be assigned a consumer advocate to help you navigate the process should you require assistance.

Special Circumstances

While our office strives to help everyone, sometimes certain entities will work only with the consumer directly.  In such cases, our office will help direct you to the best resources.

For federal tax identity theft, please visit the IRS: IRS Form

For state tax identity theft, please visit the State of Ohio Department of Taxation: State Tax Form

To challenge a criminal record that you believe to be the result of identity theft, please visit BCI: BCI- Criminal Challenge Form

Security Data Breach Information

Sometimes businesses or governmental entities experience data breaches, which occur when private information becomes publically available.  Data breaches are not considered to be identity theft because while information was obtained, it has not yet been used.  However, data breach victims should remain cautious about their information.  Victims should alert their banks and credit card issuers immediately and may wish to put a 90-day initial fraud alert on their credit report; this will make it harder for someone to open up credit in their name.  To do so, contact one of the three major credit reporting agencies, who will then share the information with the other two agencies:

Equifax:  800-525-6285 or www.equifax.com
Experian:  888-397-3742 or www.experian.com
TransUnion:  800-680-7289 or www.transunion.com

In Ohio, businesses and governmental entities are required to provide notice to consumers if consumers’ information has been compromised.

Individuals may request that public offices remove certain information from records that are placed online. Please note that the Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides these forms but it is the individual’s responsibility to forward the request to the appropriate agency.