If You Are A Victim of Identity Theft
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following four steps as soon as possible, and keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com
Once you place the fraud alert in your file, youíre entitled to order one free copy of your credit report from each of the three consumer reporting companies. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully for inquiries from companies you havenít contacted, accounts you didnít open, and debts on your accounts that you canít explain.
- Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently by calling the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing and include copies of supporting documents. When you open new accounts, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft. Ask for a letter verifying that the account has been closed and the fraudulent debt has been discharged.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling the FTCís Identity Theft Hotline 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or visiting their website www.ftc.gov/idtheft. Providing this information to the FTC helps law enforcement officials across the nation track down and stop identity thieves.
- File a report with your local police department or the police department in the community where the identity theft took place. Ask the officer for a copy of the report. Sending a copy of the police report to your creditors can speed up the process of absolving you of wrongful debts or removing inaccurate information from your credit reports. If you cannot get a copy, at least get the number of the report.