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:
- Equifax 1-800-525-6285
- Experian 1-888-397-3742
- 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.