If you have even been the victim of identity theft, you know how frustrating it can be to try to recover from it. You spend hours and hours on the phone, writing letters and in general, just pleading your case. You may even have to hire an attorney to get the job done. It can be incredibly nerve wracking.
The Federal Trade Commission has issued a report which details the results of a recent survey of identity theft victims, who were asked to talk about their dealings with the three major credit reporting agencies, as well as how they were able to exercise their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
According to the survey, most said they were satisfied with their experience. But others noted there is room for improvement. Here are the problem areas:
• Many of those surveyed said they had a hard time getting a real person on the phone when they called the credit reporting bureaus – Experian, EquiFax and TransUnion. The bureaus must address this – when you are distraught over something as big as identity theft, talking to a machine just won't cut it.
• Less than half of those surveyed even knew they had rights under the FCRA before they contacted the bureaus. This is a general communication issue that should be addressed. Consumers should be made aware of their rights. More must be done to educate the public about the FCRA, and their rights under it.
• Some of those surveyed said they were pressured by the bureaus to purchase identity theft monitoring services.
Consumer education is an important component for the FTC, which works to provide an extensive educational program to help consumers understand identity theft and to provide them with the tools needed to help them not only to deal with identity theft when it occurs, but also to detect and defend against it beforehand.