Identity theft is becoming more common in all its forms. We as a society have become more dependent upon ways of completing financial transactions that do not require face to face contact. Many people now routinely use online banking to pay bills, use of ATM and EFT/debit card machines to make direct purchases or obtain cash, and purchase items from online retailers or auctions. All of these ways of conducting our day to day business are efficient and easy to use. However, they are also susceptible to identity theft criminals.
If you suspect that you have been the victim of identity theft, make a report to your bank, your credit card companies, and to the police. The police are required to take a report of your victimization, even if the crime happened elsewhere—i.e. outside that police department’s jurisdiction. Pursuant to Penal Code section 530.6(a), the police in your home town must take this report, and either investigate it or forward it to another law enforcement agency for that investigation if appropriate. At that time, if you feel that the identity thief has done something that may have included impersonating you and having criminal charges brought somewhere in your name (i.e. you are the named suspect), you can then use Penal Code section 530.6(b) procedures to begin the process of clearing your name.
Further, the state of California has a database of identity theft victims, which is another vehicle by which you can begin the process of clearing up your credit history. The links below will take you to many useful resources that will help you in deciding what steps you can take, which ones are most important, and who can help you with any questions. The primary job of the District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting those who commit these crimes, while the entities listed below are the best equipped with the practical information and resources to help you begin your part in fixing the identity theft damage that may have been done.