On January 28th, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced its latest and improved tools for assisting victims of identity theft. The improvements were announced by FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez during a conference call for the media. Consumers can find the announcement on the FTC’s general website: http://www.ftc.gov and more specifics on the site listing the FTC’s identity theft tools: http://www.IdentityTheft.gov.

The FTC has combined its IdentityTheft website with it’s consumer complaint system to make it easier for identity theft victims to file a complaint. The improved website allows affected consumers to create the documents they’ll need to alert the police, the main credit bureaus, the IRS and other agencies about their situation.  The FTC website is also available in Spanish; that site is: RobodeIdentidad.gov. At the latter site, consumers can view the same automatically generate letters and other documents in Spanish. Those documents will be printed in English to be forwarded to the relevant agencies.

The FTC has also created a video that walks consumers through the various steps for using IdentityTheft.gov(www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/report/-identity-theft-and-get-personal-recovery-plan-identitytheftgov). I watched the short video and found it very helpful.  There’s no jargon used; the information is concrete; and the describes one of the chief benefits of the improvements.

Consumers using the site will be able to create a personalized recovery plan. The site will pre-fill the letters and forms that the consumer will need to file with various agencies. It will also enable the consumer to keep track of the progress of their complaint. Equally useful, the IdentityTheft.gov website has information about more than 30 types of identity theft and the accompanying recovery plans for each type.

I hope no one ever needs to use this site. However, it’s important to know that it’s there as a central source of critical information and support for identity theft victims.