The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) has a powerful weapon in the fight against identity theft. The weapon is the FBI’s NCIC Identity Theft File which was created to serve as a means for law enforcement to “flag” stolen identities and identify the imposter when encountered by law enforcement. However, this file may actually be an extremely important safeguard against false arrest for the victims of identity theft. Once a victim creates a profile in the FBI’s Identity Theft File, that victim is now protected nationally against false arrest. Therefore, when reporting an identity theft crime to law enforcement you should ask the police officer to have your profile added to the NCIC Identity Theft File. This will give you the much needed protection against crimes committed by identity thieves.
This is how the FBI’s NCIC Identity Theft File works: When an identity theft victim becomes aware that his/her identity has been stolen and reports the incident to law enforcement, the police officer should complete an incident report and collect pertinent information from the victim. This information is then used to create a victim profile that is entered into the Identity Theft File. Victims must however sign a waiver that states that they give permission for the information to be entered in the Identity Theft File. It also acknowledges that the victim may withdraw the consent by providing a written request to the entering agency. Once a withdrawal request is presented to an entering agency, at that time the record will be canceled from the file. This gives victims control over the handling of their personal information by the FBI.
Information provided by victims to create a profile will include name, date of birth, Social Security Number, and the type of identity theft. In return, the police officer will provide a password that will identify that person as the victim when the police report was filed. This password should be retained and used by the victim so that they may be correctly identified as the victim during any future police encounter. Therefore, during any subsequent encounters by law enforcement, including traffic stops, a person’s query into NCIC will automatically search the Identity Theft File. If positive, the officer will receive a response listing the victim’s profile, including the password, thereby providing the officer with the information necessary to verify that the person encountered is the victim, or that the person may be using a false identity. Keep in mind that other considerations, and additional information or circumstances surrounding the encounter will be considered before the officer takes action.
There are a couple of conditions that must be met in order to have a profile entered in the FBI’s Identity Theft File. First, each request must be supported by an official complaint record by a law enforcement agency. Secondly, documentation for the identity theft complaint must meet the following criteria before an entry can be made into the Identity Theft File:
- Someone is using a means of identification of the victim.
- The identity of the victim is being used without the victim’s permission.
- The victim’s identity is being used or intended to be used to commit an unlawful activity.
- The victim must sign a waiver prior to the information being entered into the Identity Theft File.