If you think you may be the victim of identity theft, you should immediately take the following steps:
You only need to call one of the three bureaus – the company you call is required to contact the other two, and within 24 hours all three of the bureaus will be on alert. In addition, on request the company you call will provide you with a free copy of your credit report. This can help you identify any new accounts that may have been opened. Pay particular attention to the section of the report that lists inquiries from new companies. Contact these companies immediately and have them remove any pending or new accounts from their system.
800-525-6285 (fraud hotline)
800-685-1111 (Order report)
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
888-397-3742 (fraud hotline)
888-397-3742 (Order report)
P.O. Box 9556
Allen, TX 75013
800-680-7289 (fraud hotline)
800-916-8800 (Order report)
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
Retain a copy of the report or the report number as proof of the crime.
While most police departments throughout the country are increasingly aware of the dramatic impact of identity theft, some local authorities may be reluctant to take your report. If this happens, ask to file a “Miscellaneous Incidents” report. You can also try another jurisdiction such as the state police, or contact your state Attorney General’s office to find out if state law requires the police to take reports for identity theft.
Close any affected accounts. Speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each creditor and describe what has occurred. In addition, make sure to notify credit card companies and banks in writing.
Follow up with a letter or affidavit as well as copies of any supporting documents. Be sure to include copies (not originals) of supporting documents.
Contact the following check-verification companies if your checks have been stolen or lost
-TeleCheck: 800-710-9898 or 1-800-927-0188
-Certegy, Inc.: 800-437-5120
-International Check Services: 800-631-9656
In addition, call SCAN (800-262-7771) to find out if the identity thief has been passing bad checks in your name.
Maintain complete, accurate records of all the steps you take in reporting identity theft.
When you notify various businesses and agencies, do so both by phone and in writing. Include a date/time log of phone calls, including the names of people with whom you speak and what they tell you. Also keep copies of any correspondence, along with the names, phone numbers and addresses of anyone you contact. This will be extremely important if you have to prepare a case to recover damages. It’s also a good idea to send all correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested.
-If your Social Security card has been stolen, contact the Social Security Administration for a replacement card.
-If the theft involves your mail, contact the Postal Inspection Service, the primary law-enforcement arm of the U.S. Postal Service.
-If your driver’s license has been stolen, contact the issuing office to cancel it and obtain a replacement.