How do I DEFEND MYSELF if I suspect Identity Theft?
If you suspect you may be a victim or Identity Theft…Act Quickly!
- Place a Fraud Alert on your credit reports and review the reports carefully: Contact the fraud department in any of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies and ask them to place a “FRAUD ALERT” on your credit report. A fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you before they open new accounts or make certain changes to an existing account. Each agency has a toll-free number for placing a one year fraud alert; a call to one company is sufficient;
- Equifax — www.equifax.com or 800 685.1111
- Experian — www.experian.com or 888 397.3742
- Trans Union — www.transunion.com or 888 909.8872
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain.
- Close Accounts: Close all accounts that were opened or used fraudulently.
- Call the security or fraud department of each company to close the account. Follow up in writing, sending copies of the documents to support your claim. Do not send originals.
- You can use the Federal Trade Commissions ID Theft Affidavit to simplify this process. This affidavit may be found at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
- Ask for written verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
- Keep copies of all your papers and correspondence, and a record of all your conversations with companies where accounts were opened or used fraudulently.
- File a Police Report: File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.
- To report your complaint or learn more about other actions you can take visit the Federal Trade Commissions’ website at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1-877-ID-THEFT(438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261