What To Do If You Are Victimized by Identity Theft

What To Do If You Are Victimized by Identity Theft
If Your Identity’s Been Stolen
Even if you’ve been very careful about keeping your personal information to
yourself, an identity thief can strike. If you suspect that your personal information
has been used to commit fraud or theft, take the following four steps right away.
Remember to follow up all calls in writing; send your letter by certified mail, return
receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when; and
keep copies for your files.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your credit reports.
Call the toll-free fraud number of anyone of the three major credit bureaus to place
a fraud alert on your credit report. This can help prevent an identity thief from
opening additional accounts in your name. As soon as the credit bureau confirms
your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place
fraud alerts on your credit report, and all three reports will be sent to you free of
Equifax — To report fraud, call:
1-800-525-6285, and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian — To report fraud, call:
1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742), and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
TransUnion — To report fraud, call:
1-800-680-7289, and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790,
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Once you receive your reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries you didn’t
initiate, accounts you didn’t open, and unexplained debts on your true accounts.
You also should check that information such as your SSN, address(es), name or
initial, and employers are correct. Inaccuracies in this information also may be due
to typographical errors. Nevertheless, whether the inaccuracies are due to fraud or
error, you should notify the credit bureau as soon as possible by telephone and in
writing. You should continue to check your reports periodically, especially in the
first year after you’ve discovered the theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity
has occurred. The automated “one-call” fraud alert process only works for the
initial placement of your fraud alert. Orders for additional credit reports or
renewals of your fraud alerts must be made separately at each of the three major
credit bureaus.
Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Credit Accounts
Credit accounts include all accounts with banks, credit card companies and other
lenders, and phone companies, utilities, ISPs, and other service
If you’re closing existing accounts and opening new ones, use new Personal
Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords.
If there are fraudulent charges or debits, ask the company about the following
forms for disputing those transactions:
1. For new unauthorized accounts, ask if the company accepts the ID Theft
Affidavit (available at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/affidavit.pdf).
2. If they don’t, ask the representative to send you the company’s fraud dispute
forms. For your existing accounts, ask the representative to send you the
company’s fraud dispute forms.
3. If your ATM card has been lost, stolen or otherwise compromised, cancel the
card as soon as you can. Get a new card with a new PIN.
If your checks have been stolen or misused, close the account and ask your bank to
notify the appropriate check verification service. While no federal law limits your
losses if someone steals your checks and forges your signature, state laws may
protect you. Most states hold the bank responsible for losses from a forged check,
but they also require you to take reasonable care of your account. For example, you
may be held responsible for the forgery if you fail to notify the bank in a timely
way that a check was lost or stolen. Contact your state banking or consumer
protection agency for more information.
You also should contact these major check verification companies. Ask that
retailers who use their databases not accept your checks.
TeleCheck — 1-800-710-9898 or 927-0188
Certegy, Inc. — 1-800-437-5120
International Check Services — 1-800-631-9656
Call SCAN (1-800-262-7771) to find out if the identity thief has been passing bad
checks in your name.
File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the
identity theft took place.
Keep a copy of the report. You may need it to validate your claims to creditors. If
you can’t get a copy, at least get the report number.
File a complaint with the FTC.
By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important
information that can help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves and
stop them. The FTC also can refer victim complaints to other appropriate
government agencies and companies for further action. The FTC enters the
information you provide into our secure database.
To file a complaint or to learn more about the FTC’s Privacy Policy, visit
www.consumer.gov/idtheft. If you don’t have access to the Internet, you can call
the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline: toll-free 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338); TDD:
202-326-2502; or write: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission,
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair
business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers
spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on
consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-3824357).
Stanford University Department of Public Safety
711 Serra St.
Stanford, Ca 94305
(650) 723-9633
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