In Case of Identity Theft, Check Your Criminal Records


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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3 Responses to “In Case of Identity Theft, Check Your Criminal Records”

  1. Radek M. Gadek Says:

    Great article. I know of a friend that had his identity stolen thus ending up having warrants for his arrest. Well, not his, but you get the idea. I checked those for him and told him to report identity theft. I wish he checked his credit and criminal record long time ago, but it’s usually done after the fact. He solved the dilemma, but it took over a year to clear his good name.

    Thanks for the info,

    Radek M. Gadek
    Author of Criminal Justice Online Degree Courses.

  2. thank a ton Says:

    Thank you for the article. My dentity was stolen years ago and I fixed my credit but I never looked into my criminal background. I am started this process straight away. Where were people like you 9 years ago. Back then there wasn’t a lot of info available.

  3. Troy Williams Says:

    I have done extensive research in this area and would like to share also this is useful for our military..

    If you are a member of the military and away from your usual duty station, you may place an “active duty alert” on your credit report to help minimize the risk of identity theft while you are deployed. When a business sees the alert on your credit report, it must verify your identity before issuing you credit. The business may try to contact you directly, but if you’re on deployment, that may be impossible. As a result, the law allows you to use a personal representative to place or remove an alert. This is called a power of attorney like a spouse or family member. Active duty alerts on your report are effective for one year, unless you request that the alert be removed sooner. If your deployment lasts longer, you may place another alert on your report.

    To place an “active duty” alert, or to have it removed, call the toll-free fraud number of one of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union. The company will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number, your name, address, and other personal information.

    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;
    • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742);
    • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;

    Contact only one of the three companies to place an alert – the company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, as well. If your contact information changes before your alert expires, remember to update it.

    When you place an active duty alert, your name will be removed from the nationwide consumer reporting companies’ marketing lists for prescreened offers of credit and insurance for two years – unless you ask that your name be placed on the lists before then. Prescreened offers – sometimes called “preapproved” offers – are based on information in your credit report that indicates you meet certain criteria set by the offer.

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