|by Brooke Kaelin|
In our previous articles, we talked about what to do if your purse or wallet is stolen, and how to freeze your credit reports, how to check your credit reports for free - all the goodies. But what we have not yet covered is one last identity theft essential – checking your criminal records.
If you know, or even think that you may be a victim of identity theft, then you need to make a point of checking to see if your name has been used as an alias in a crime. Once a thief has your information, they can use it any way that want to – from making fraudulent charges, selling your identity to others, or even posing as you if they are arrested.
There are plenty of online services that you can use to check your criminal records. Unfortunately, most of them cost upwards of $40. In this case, the best thing that you can do to ensure your name has not been used to protect a criminal’s identity is to check your FBI records.
The following bit of information comes from the U.S. Department of State’s Criminal Records page:
FBI RECORDS CHECK: The Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) centralizes criminal justice information and provides accurate and timely information and services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies.
The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy thereof by submitting a written request to the CJIS. The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth, and a set of roll-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the $18 processing fee.
The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record. Requests should be directed to FBI CJIS Division, Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306. If there is no criminal record, a report reflecting this fact is provided.
Identity theft is expensive, there is no way around it. But you can make the recovery from identity theft as painless as possibly by following the correct procedures to control and prevent further damage.
You need to call your bank, file a police report, freeze your credit reports, report the theft to your credit card companies, and do a criminal background check. That covers your bases and minimizes the damage the thief can do to you.
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