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ID Theft Victim Helpline
What are the steps I should take if I'm a victim of identity theft?
If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following four steps as soon as possible, and keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit
Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you're entitled to order free copies of your credit reports, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Check that information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed. See Correcting Fraudulent Information in Credit Reports to learn how. Continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered
with or opened fraudulently.
When you open new accounts, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
If the identity thief has made charges or debits on your accounts, or has fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions:
Once you have resolved your identity theft dispute with the company, ask for a letter stating that the company has closed the disputed accounts and has discharged the fraudulent debts. This letter is your best proof if errors relating to this account reappear on your credit report or you are contacted again about the fraudulent debt.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
You can file a complaint with the FTC using the online complaint form; or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.
File a report with your local police or the police in the community
where the identity theft took place.
When you go to your local police department to file a complaint, bring a printed copy of your ID Theft Complaint form and your supporting documentation. Ask the officer to attach or incorporate the Complaint into their police report. Also ask the officer to sign the “Law Enforcement Report” section of your Compliant. If the officer wants more information about the ID Theft Report, you can tell them it is available on the FTC’s Web site’s Section for Law Enforcement at the link for “Identity Theft Report”. Ask the officer to give you a copy of the official police report with your ID Theft Complaint attached or incorporated. (In some jurisdictions the officer will not be able to give you a copy of the official police report, but should be able to sign your Complaint and write the police report number in the “Law Enforcement Report” section.)
The ID Theft Complaint can be used to supplement an automated police report. If you can online file an automated report, complete the “Automated Report Information” block of the ID Theft Complaint. Attach a copy of any confirmation received from the police to you ID Theft Complaint.
Additional information regarding this and other identity theft related subjects can be found at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/consumers/defend.html#two.
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