Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Reports
If you are a victim of identity theft, you should visit the FTC's web site at http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/. The FTC recommends that you take the following steps as soon as possible, and you should always keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence as well as the time you spent doing so. The first thing you should do is a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports. Fraud alerts can help stop any more accounts in your name. Contact any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the companies as it is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report. TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 www.transunion.com Fraud Victim Assistance Division P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790 Equifax: 1-800-525-6285 www.equifax.com P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA
File A Complaint with the FTC
You should next file a complaint with the FTC using its on-line 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. You can then provide a printed copy of your online Complaint form to the police to incorporate into their police report. The printed FTC ID Theft Complaint, in conjunction with the police report, can constitute an Identity Theft Report and entitle you to certain protections. This Identity Theft Report can be used to (1) permanently block fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report; (2) ensure that debts do not reappear on your credit report; (3) prevent a company from continuing to collect debts that result from identity theft; and (4) place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.
File a Police Report
Go to your local police department and tell them that you want to file a report about your identity theft. If the police won't let you file a report, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incident" report, or try another jurisdiction, like your state police. Make sure to bring a copy of your FTC ID Theft Complaint Form to the police department. Ask the officer to attach or incorporate the ID Theft Complaint into their police report. Tell them that you need a copy of the Identity Theft Report (the police report with your ID Theft Complaint attached or incorporated)to dispute the fraudulent accounts and debts created by the identity thief.
Contact the Company's Fraud Department
Next you should call and write to the company's fraud department who you believe allowed the account to be opened fraudulently. If you call, you should always follow up in writing, and include copies of supporting documents. As with all such communications, keep a copy for your records send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when.
Dispute the Inaccurate Information with the CRAs
If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit report, get it removed by sending a dispute letter and include a copy of your Identity Theft Report and Police Report. Your dispute should be sent certified mail, return receipt requested to the credit bureaus referencing the credit report and tradeline in question, your personal identifying information and attach all and any documents a party would need to confirm that the tradeline is inaccurate. It is also useful to provide a telephone number where the bureaus can reach you if they need more information. You should make a copy of the letter and all documents sent with it. The Credit Reporting Agency will then have 30 days to investigate the issue and get back to you. If your creditreport is not corrected, you should contact a private attorney.