What to Do If You Become a Victim of Identity Theft
Unfortunately, even diligent consumers cannot totally protect themselves from all the types of identity theft. If you do become a victim of identity theft, time is of the essence. Acting quickly and thoroughly can help to limit the potentially far-reaching implications of having your identity stolen. Following are steps to take when someone steals your identity.
Report the crime
Identity theft is a crime punishable by law. File a police report and keep a copy to help dispute unwanted charges. It will also help the police to identify crime trends.
Communicate with creditors
Contact all issuers of credit cards, ATM cards, telephone calling cards, video rental cards, etc. Also contact your local bank and stop payment on checks if necessary.
Add a Fraud Alert
Contact the fraud department of each of the credit reporting agencies to place a temporary 90-day Fraud Alert on your file. Then, write to those agencies requesting a 7-year Victim Statement be added to your file. This will ask a creditor to contact you by telephone before opening any new accounts or changing existing accounts.
Victims of fraud are entitled to one free copy of their credit file each year. Consumers may also choose to monitor their credit on a regular basis.
Contact your local state Attorney General’s office and the Federal Trade Commission (877-IDTHEFT).
Identity theft is recognized as a serious social issue by agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, the FBI and the United States Secret Service. For more information about protecting your good name, visit the U.S. Department of Justice Web site.