What To Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft
• Contact the three major credit bureaus. Equifax: (800) 525-6285; Experian: (888) 397-3742; and Trans Union: (800) 680-7289. Ask them to place a fraud alert on your credit report. Include a statement that asks creditors to call you for permission before any new accounts are opened in your name. A "victim's statement" should also be placed in your file to direct creditors to call you if any new accounts are opened in your name.
• Contact creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened without your knowledge. Be sure to put complaints in writing. Creditors include credit card companies, utility companies, including land and cell phones, and banks and other lenders. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires written notification, so make sure to follow up each phone call with a letter. Close all your accounts and open new ones with new personal identification numbers and passwords.
• Contact the FTC: (877) 438-4338. While federal investigators only tend to pursue larger, more sophisticated fraud cases, they do monitor identity theft crimes of all levels in the hopes of discovering patterns and breaking up larger rings. Fill out the ID Theft Affidavit a the FTC's Web site, make copies and send to creditors. The agency also has an online complaint form.
• Report the theft with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft occurred. Fill out a police report, and consider signing a written affidavit verifying that unauthorized transactions on your account are fraudulent. Get a copy of the report and send copies to creditors and credit bureaus as proof of the crime.
• Report the fraud to the Office of the Inspector General's fraud hotline
The Three Major Credit Bureaus
Equifax Credit Information Services, Inc
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
Web site: www.equifax.com (opens in new window)
Experian (formerly TRW)
National Consumer Assistance Center
PO Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
Web site: www.experian.com (opens in new window)
Consumer Disclosure Center
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
Web site: www.transunion.com (opens in new window)
Disclaimer: This site and any information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Seek the help of competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.
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