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What To Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

When you first realize something is not accurate on a credit card statement, your credit report, or you receive a statement for a credit card or loan that you never applied for, your first instinct may be to panic. With the information below, you will be able to get control of things and approach the situation with a calmer attitude.

Notify your financial institution to contact you if there is any unusual activity on your account. Change your PINs. Contact police in the jurisdiction where the theft took place. File a report and keep a copy for yourself. Call your postmaster if you think the mail was used. Call the fraud divisions of one of the credit reporting agencies and request that a “fraud alert” be placed on your name and Social Security number.

Reporting fraud to an agency will require any company or creditor to contact you to authorize any new credit. Ask for copies of your reports. As a victim of identity theft, you’ll get them free. Follow up your call with a letter and enclose a copy of the police report. By doing this, you are protected legally should the agencies fail to remove the crime from your record. Call the creditors who opened accounts in your name. Inform them of the identity theft and close the accounts. Get copies of all transactions and applications on the accounts.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-IDTheft. Request and file the ID Theft Affidavit that alerts companies and organizations that may have fraudulent accounts opened in your name. To report identity theft, contact one of these credit reporting agencies:

Other Important Information Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline: 877-IDTheft (877-438-4338) For online ID theft: To receive your free credit report by phone, mail or online: or call 877-322-8228 Social Security statement request: 800-772-1213 or Identity Theft Resource Center (non-profit): 858-693-7935 or

To report ID theft it is only necessary to call one credit reporting agency. Within 24 hours, each bureau will attach a fraud alert to your credit fi le. The single call also opts you out of all pre-approved offers of credit or insurance for two years, and will get you a mailed copy of your credit file.

by Staff Writer
Published April 10, 2009
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