Steps for Victims of Identity Theft

If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, below are some guidelines that should be acted upon immediately to best insure your protection:

  • Be sure to keep records and document all communications with the creditors and government agencies you contact. Include the date and the name of the person you were in contact with. Follow up all telephone contacts with a letter and keep a copy.

  • Notify all creditors and financial institutions in writing and by phone that your name and accounts have been used without permission. If an existing account has been stolen, ask the creditor or bank to issue you new cards, checks and account numbers. Carefully monitor the account activity on your statements. Report fraudulent activity to the issuing company immediately.

  • Immediately report the crime to your local police. Provide them with as much documentation as possible. Make sure that the accounts are listed on the police report and request a copy of the police report. Credit card companies, banks and credit reporting agencies may require you to show a police report to support your claim that a crime was committed.

  • Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC collects complaints about identity theft from consumers and stores them in a secure online database called the Consumer Sentinel that is available to law enforcement agencies worldwide. The FTC provides information on ways to resolve problems resulting from identity theft and refers individuals to various private and government agencies for further action.

    Identity Theft Clearinghouse
    600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20580

  • Contact the fraud units of the three agencies:

Ask them to place a "fraud alert" on your credit report to help prevent new fraudulent accounts from being opened.

Please note that you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report if you are a victim of identity theft.

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