What to Do if You Are an Identity Theft Victim


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Contact the Credit Bureaus

Place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Also, order a copy of credit report from all 3 credit bureaus. 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.


Contact Your Creditors

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, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. Keep a file of your correspondence and enclosures.


File a Police Report

Call your local police department and tell them that you want to file a report about your identity theft. Ask them if you can file the report in person. If you cannot, ask if you can file a report over the Internet or telephone. If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incident" report, or try another jurisdiction, like your state police. You also can check with your state Attorney General's office to find out if state law requires the police to take reports for identity theft.


Check Your Bank Accounts

Check your bank account balances and recent transactions to ensure that the thief didn't access those accounts. Report any suspicious activiity to the bank immediately. If someone accessed your account fraudulently, have the bank cancel your ATM card and issue you a new one.


Pay Attention to Your Mail

Make sure you are receiving all of your mail. If it appears that your mail has dwindled or is no longer being delivered, go to your nearest post office and inquire if someone put in a change of address card. An identity thief could have requested to have your mail diverted to obtain more of your personal information.

Additional Resources

To learn more about how to respond to identity theft, visit the Federal Trade Commission's website.

Federal Trade Commission

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