I believe my identity was stolen while I was incarcerated. What can I do?

If you believe your identity was stolen while you were incarcerated and you are a resident of California, you can file an Identity Theft Affidavit by mail to the California Franchise Tax Board or call their ID Theft experts at 916-485-7088.[8] If you are still incarcerated, you will likely need the help of a friend or loved one outside the prison to make calls and advocate on your behalf. If you are not incarcerated, you can access the Federal Trade Commission’s free manual, Identity Theft: A Recovery Plan, which contains a step-by-step procedure to handling identity theft, available online at http://IdentityTheft.gov.[9]

To file an Identity Theft Affidavit, you will need identifying documentation, such as a driver’s license (learn how to get one on PG. 45) or U.S. Passport (learn how to get one on PG. 60). You can find a copy of the Identity Theft Affidavit in the Appendix section of the IDENTIFICATION & VOTING RIGHTS CHAPTER on [page #].

You can also call the three major credit bureaus, listed below, to request a 90-day block that will stop anyone from opening an account in your name. The block will expire automatically after 90 days.[10] You will not need to provide a copy of your driver’s license to have a 90-day block put on, but you will need your Social Security Number. For information on obtaining your Social Security Number, go to PG. 39.

Below are the three major credit bureaus:

    Equifax, P.O Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-024. Phone number: 1-800-525-6285
    Experian, P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013. Phone number: 1-888-397-3742
    TransUnion, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834. Phone number: 1-800-680-7289

This chart summarizes how & why each ID is important, AND THE approximate COST of EACH type.

SUMMARY OF KEY DOCUMENTS

KEY ID DOCUMENT

COST

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

AUTHORIZED U.S. BIRTH CERTIFICATE

About $25 (varies by county)

This proves your age and legal presence in the United States. It is necessary in order to get most other forms of identification, including your California state ID or driver license.

NATURALIZATION CERTIFICATE

$345 (may be free if you show financial hardship)

If you are a naturalized citizen, meaning you were born outside of the United States and became a citizen later, you will not have a U.S. birth certificate. Instead, you should use your naturalization certificate.

SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER/CARD

Free

Your Social Security number (SSN) is required to apply for jobs, education programs, financial aid, and government services. You need it to obtain other forms of ID, such as a state ID or driver license.

CALIFORNIA STATE ID

and/or

DRIVER LICENSE

$28 for a new state ID (but $8 reduced fee if you receive public benefits, and free for seniors and homeless people).

If you are currently incarcerated — free state id may be available through cal-id program (learn more on pg. 43).

$33 for a new CA Driver License.

Both a California State ID and Driver License prove your age and identity, and they may prove your legal presence in the United States. Either one can be used as an official photo ID. You will likely need one of these in order to open a bank account, to register to vote, and to apply for jobs, housing, or public benefits. State IDs and driver licenses are generally considered the most common accepted forms of identification.

A California Driver License is different from a state ID in that it gives you driving privileges if you can meet all the state requirements.

U.S. PASSPORT

$135 for a new passport; $110 for a renewal

This is necessary for traveling abroad and coming back to the United States. It is also considered an official photo ID.

TRIBAL ID CARD

It depends on the tribe.

A tribal ID proves your enrollment in a particular Indian (Native American or Alaska Native) tribe, and can be used as official photo ID for some places (like federal buildings, airports, and banks), certain services (like the federal Indian Health Service), but not for other purposes (for example, it won’t work for notary services in California).

RAP SHEET

Approx. $50 ($25 with a fee waiver)

Your RAP sheet is a chronological listing of your entire criminal history. You want to know what shows up on your RAP sheet because employers, Public Housing Authorities, schools, government agencies, and others may use your criminal history to decide if you are eligible for their services. (Go to the UNDERSTANDING & CLEANING UP YOUR CRIMINAL RECORD CHAPTER, PG. 915)

VOTER REGISTRATION

Free

When you register to vote, you will be sent a voter registration card in the mail to let you know that you’ve registered successfully. However, you do not need it to actually vote, as long as you’re registered.

SELECTIVE SERVICE REGISTRATION

Free

All male U.S. citizens, and all males living in the United States (except those present on student or visitor visas) must register for the Selective Service if they are aged 18-25. Failure to do so can result in disqualification from, or loss of, certain federal and state benefits. In California, if you do not register, you will not be eligible for state student financial aid. Selective Service used to be called “the Draft.”

LIBRARY CARD

(OPTIONAL)

Free

A library card gives you access to free resources from your local public library, such as books, movies, and advice from librarians. It also allows you to use the library’s computers and access the Internet.

  1. 10

    State of California Department of Justice, Identity Theft Victim Checklist, https://oag.ca.gov/idtheft/facts/victim-checklist

  2. 8

    California Franchise Tax Board, Report Scams, Identity Theft & Tax Fraud, https://www.ftb.ca.gov/online/fraud_referral/index.shtml

  3. 9

    Federal Trade Commission, Identity Theft: A Recovery Plan, https://www.bulkorder.ftc.gov/sites/bulkorder.ftc.gov/files/styles/publications_node/public/images/501a_pdf-0009-identity-theft-a-recovery-plan.png?itok=GoUAJ6rr