What to Do if Identity Theft Happens to You

If you learn that your identity has been stolen:

  • First, report the crime to your local police immediately and ask them to issue a police report about the theft. Local law enforcement must accept the complaint, prepare a police report, give the victim a copy of the report, investigate the allegation and any other related violations and where necessary, coordinate investigations with other law enforcement agencies. Keep a copy of your police report to share with your creditors. It may help in your dealings with the credit bureaus.
  • Keep all documentation, and log all telephone calls you make regarding the theft.
  • Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit bureaus -- Equifax, TransUnion or Experian -- and ask them to flag your file with a fraud alert and to include a statement that creditors should get your permission before opening any new accounts in your name. The credit bureau that you notify will notify the other two bureaus.
    • Fraud departments of the credit reporting companies:

      o    Equifax 1-800-525-6285

      o    Experian 1-888-397-3742

      o    Transunion 1-800-680-7289

  • Check your credit report carefully and look for items that you do not recognize. Verify your name, address and social security number on the report. 
  • After thoroughly reviewing your credit report and documenting incorrect information:
    • Contact your creditors, your bank, your utilities and all service companies and let them know that your identity has been stolen.
    • Contact the Internal Revenue Service if you suspect the improper use of your identification information in connection with tax violations.
    • Contact the Post Office to find out if anyone has submitted change of address forms on your behalf.
    • Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report the theft at 1-877 438-4338, or online at www.consumer.gov.  Although the FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems, your complaint helps the FTC investigate fraud and can lead to law enforcement action.