What to Do If Your Identity is Stolen
If you’re a victim of identity theft, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, recommends that you take the following four steps as soon as possible, and keep records of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your 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 nationwide consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
-Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742
2. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing, and include copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. It’s important to notify credit card companies and banks in writing. Send your letters by certified mail, and request a return receipt so you can document what the company received and when. Keep a file of your correspondence and enclosures.
If the identity thief has made charges or debits to your accounts, or to fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions. Also request the transaction records relating to the identity theft, such as the fraudulent credit application.
3. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Then, get a copy of the police report or at the very least, the number of the report!
4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them.
For more information, please visit: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt07.shtm