Tips > Identity Theft

Taking Action if Your Identity Is Stolen, 11/12/2008

If you think you have become a victim of identity theft, you must act promptly.  Depending on the nature of the crime, being slow to react can affect the amount of money you could lose. 

·        First, contact all three of the major credit bureaus:

·        Contact your local police department or sheriff's office.  File a police report and keep a copy of the report to give to credit reporting agencies, creditors, and others.

·        File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  They have an Identity Theft website that is an excellent resource for anyone that has been victimized by this type of crime:

·        Close the accounts that you know or suspect are fraudulent or have been tampered with.

·        If you know or suspect that your mail has been stolen, contact the US Postal Service.

·        Keep detailed records of any identity theft and your efforts to resolve it.

    • Record the date, time, and amount of all unauthorized activity on your records.
    • Record the date, time, duration, and cost of any phone calls.  For each call, also note the name of the person with whom you spoke.
    • Record the date and cost of any mailings and keep copies.

 

Other Resources:

·        Federal Trade Commission – "Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft"
     
http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/idtheft/idt04.shtm
This is an excellent and very comprehensive article separate from the FTC's regular ID Theft site ("Deter, Detect, Defend") that lists steps to take when identity theft has occurred.  It includes letter and call log templates.

·        On-Guard Online – www.OnGuardOnline.gov – This site has many useful articles to help consumers protect themselves online.