Identify theft - victim assistance

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ID Theft - What to do right away

  1. Call the fraud department. Explain that someone stole your identity.
  2. Ask them to close or freeze the accounts. Then, no one can add new charges unless you agree.
  3. Change logins, passwords and PINS for your accounts.

You might have to contact these companies again after you have an Identity Theft Report.

Contact one of the three credit bureaus.

That company must tell the other two. A fraud alert is free and will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. You’ll get a letter from each credit bureau. It will confirm that they placed a fraud alert on your file.

  1. https://www.equifax.com/personal/credit-report-services/
    1-888-766-0008
  2. https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html
    1-888-397-3742
  3. https://www.transunion.com/fraud-alerts
    1-800-680-7289

Get your free credit report right away.

Go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.

Did you already order your free annual reports this year? If so, you can pay to get your report immediately. Or follow the instructions in each fraud alert confirmation letter to get a free report, but it might take longer.

Review your reports. Make note of any account or transaction you don’t recognize. This will help you report the theft to the FTC and the police.

  1. Complete the online form at IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338. Include as many details as possible.

    Based on the information you enter, IdentityTheft.gov will create your Identity Theft Report and recovery plan. Your identity theft report proves to businesses that someone stole your identity. It also guarantees you certain rights.

    If you create an account, they will walk you through each recovery step, update your plan as needed, track your progress, and pre-fill forms and letters for you.

  2. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Complaint Assistant
    This U.S Government services is designed to streamline the complaint process for every type of fraud.  You can file a complaint online, print a copy and get expert advise on what you need to do.  Topics cover everything that falls within Rip-offs, Imposter Scams, Mobile Devices, Telephones, Internet Services, Online Shopping, Computers, Education, Jobs, Making Money, Credit, Debt, Robocalls, Unwanted Telemarketing, Text, and SPAM. or call FTC Hotline at 877-701-9595
    Watch Video - How to report fraud to the FTC

Go to your local police office with:

  • a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit
  • a government-issued ID with a photo
  • proof of your address (mortgage statement, rental agreement, or utilities bill)
  • any other proof you have of the theft (bills, IRS notices, etc.)
  • FTC's Memo to Law Enforcement
  1. Tell the police someone stole your identity and you need to file a report. If they are reluctant, show them the FTC's Memo to Law Enforcement.
  2. Ask for a copy of the police report. You’ll need this to complete other steps.
  3. Create your Identity Theft Report by combining your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit with your police report.

  4. Your identity theft report proves to businesses that someone stole your identity. It also guarantees you certain rights. Know your rights, click here

ID Theft - What to do next

Now that you have an Identity Theft Report, call the fraud department of each business where an account was opened.

  • Explain that someone stole your identity.
  • Ask the business to close the account.
  • Ask the business to send you a letter confirming that:
    • the fraudulent account isn’t yours
    • you aren’t liable for it
    • it was removed from your credit report
    • Keep this letter. Use it if the account appears on your credit report later on. The business may require you to send them a copy of your Identity Theft Report or complete a special dispute form. This sample letter can help.

    Write down who you contacted and when.

Call the fraud department of each business

  • Explain that someone stole your identity.
  • Tell them which charges are fraudulent. Ask the business to remove them.
  • Ask the business to send you a letter confirming they removed the fraudulent charges.
  • Keep this letter. Use it if this account appears on your credit report later on.
    The business may require you to send them a copy of your Identity Theft Report or complete a special dispute form. This sample letter can help.

Write down who you contacted and when.

Write to each of the three credit bureaus.


This sample letter can help.
  • Include a copy of your Identity Theft Report and proof of your identity, like your name, address, and Social Security number.
  • Explain which information on your report came from identity theft.
  • Ask them to block that information.
    • Equifax.com
      P.O. Box 105069
      Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
      1-800-525-6285
    • Experian.com
      P.O. Box 9554
      Allen, TX 75013
      1-888-397-3742
    • TransUnion.com
      Fraud Victim Assistance Department
      P.O. Box 2000
      Chester, PA 19022-2000
      1-800-680-7289

If someone steals your identity, you have the right to remove fraudulent information from your credit report. This is called blocking. Once the information is blocked, it won’t show up on your credit report, and companies can’t try to collect the debt from you. If you have an Identity Theft Report, credit bureaus must honor your request to block this information.

If you don’t have an Identity Theft Report, you still can dispute incorrect information in your credit file. It can take longer, and there’s no guarantee that the credit bureaus will remove the information.

Extended fraud alerts and credit freezes can help prevent further misuse of your personal information. There are important differences. This chart can help you decide which might be right for you.

Extended Fraud Alert Credit Freeze
Lets you have access to your credit report as long as companies take steps to verify your identity Stops all access to your credit report unless you lift or remove it
Free to place and remove if someone stole your identity. Guaranteed by federal law. Cost and availability depend on your state law (link is external). There might be a small fee for placing, lifting and removing.
Lasts for 7 years Lasts until you lift or remove
Set it by contacting each of the three credit bureaus:
  1. Report that someone stole your identity. Request an extended fraud alert.
  2. Complete any necessary forms and send a copy of your Identity Theft Report.
Set it by contacting each of the 3 credit bureaus.
  1. Report that someone stole your identity.
  2. Ask the company to put a freeze on your credit file.
  3. Pay the fee required by state law
For fraud alerts:

  • Equifax
    P.O. Box 105069
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
    1-800-525-6285
  • Experian
    P.O. Box 9554
    Allen, TX 75013
    1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion
    Fraud Victim Assistance Department
    P.O. Box 2000
    Chester, PA 19022-2000
    1-800-680-7289
For credit freezes:

  • Equifax
    P.O. Box 105069
    Atlanta, GA 30348-5069
    1-800-525-6285
  • Experian
    P.O. Box 9554
    Allen, TX 75013
    1-888-397-3742
  • TransUnion
    Fraud Victim Assistance Department
    P.O. Box 2000
    Chester, PA 19022-2000
    1-800-680-7289

Recovery

There is a lot to think about and do. Recovering from identity theft can take time. It helps to write things down.

Set up a file system to store:

  • the copies of your documents about the identity theft
  • letters that you send or get
  • calls that you make or get

What kinds of files should I keep?

Keep records of the letters you send or get and the conversations you have. You might need the records to prove that you already fixed something.

  • Save copies of your papers, receipts, and account statements
  • Keep a list of the companies you called and when you called them. Write the name of the person you spoke with, what you asked them to do, and what they agreed to do
  • Send a letter to the people you talked to. In your letter, confirm what they will do
  • When you mail things, ask for a return receipt. This means you will get a receipt in the mail. This is proof that you sent the letter and the company got it.

What happens when my initial fraud alert ends?
When you know your identity was stolen, you can put an extended fraud alert on your credit report. An extended fraud alert is good for seven years.

To ask for an extended fraud alert, contact each credit reporting company. You might have to give them a copy of your Identity Theft Report. Never send the original document. Send a copy.

How do I fix the mistakes in my credit report?
Write a letter to the three credit reporting companies. Get the mailing address when you call the fraud departments of each credit reporting company.

How do I fix the mistakes on my bills?

  • Send a letter to each business that reported a charge you did not make
  • Use the address they tell you to use for “disputes”
  • Change the passwords and PINs on your accounts

How do I close accounts that I did not open?

  • Send a letter to each business that opened an account
  • Include a copy of your Identity Theft Report or the forms that they use

What should I say in these letters?

Your letter should:

  • explain that you are an identity theft victim
  • list the mistakes
  • tell why you disagree with the charges
  • include any proof that you did not make the charges or open the account
  • ask them to remove the fraudulent information or close the account
  • ask the company to send you a letter that says:

    - the charge is removed from the account or the account is closed
    - the charge is removed from your credit report
    - you are not responsible for the charge

Identify theft resources

Fraud Alerts and How They Work

Fraud Alerts are like 'red flags' for anyone looking at your credit file. They signal to credit grantors that you may have been a victim of suspicious activity. Fraud Alerts alert creditors to take extra steps to verify the legitimacy of a request for new credit, extension of credit on an existing account, or issuance of an additional card on an existing account.

3 Main Types of Alerts and Length of Effectiveness:

  • Initial Fraud Alert: 90 days
  • Active Duty Alert: 1 year
  • Extended Fraud Alert: 7 years

Fraud Alerts

  • Do not prevent third parties from viewing your credit file; however third parties are required to take certain steps to verify that you have authorized the activity on your account if they see a fraud alert on the credit file.
  • Still provide lenders with access to credit files and the ability to give credit to anyone they wish.
  • Are free

Security Freezes and How They Work

Many (but not all) states allow you to place a Security Freeze on your credit file for free or for a reduced fee. A Security Freeze will put your credit file 'on ice' by preventing the information in your Equifax credit file from being reported to third parties, such as credit grantors and other companies. With a Security Freeze, lenders will not be able to gain access to your credit file unless you give permission by "thawing" the frozen file using a secret code, similar to a PIN number. This means that it's unlikely that an identity thief would be able to open a new account in your name. To see if a Security Freeze is available in your state, what your state requires, how to request it, and what fees may apply, click here.

Security Freezes

  • Block your credit file from being disclosed to third parties (except as noted above). Should you wish to apply for a loan or service you must be proactive in requesting a lift in the security freeze so that the necessary third parties will be able to view the credit file if the file is frozen (except those exempted by law).
  • Remain on your credit file until you decide to remove or lift it.
  • Give you more control over who looks at your credit file.
  • May require a payment, based on the state in which you reside, to place and/or lift the freeze.
  • Are an effective way to prevent an identity thief from opening most new accounts in your name. However, a Security Freeze cannot prevent all types of identity theft. For example, a Security Freeze will not prevent an identity thief from using your existing credit cards or other accounts.











eFraud Prevention™, LLC