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What To Do If You Are The Victim Of Identity Theft


According to the Federal Trade Commission, the appropriate steps to take if you suffer identity theft are:

Step 1: Contact the national credit reporting agencies.

  • Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open any new accounts.
  • The company you call is required to contact the other two.
  • The names and phone numbers of the three agencies are:
  • Once you've placed the fraud alert, you're entitled to order one free credit report from each of the three companies. If you ask, they will display only the last four digits of your Social Security number on your credit reports.

Step 2: Close accounts.

Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. The credit card companies can give you new account numbers within 24 hours.

Step 3: Dispute unauthorized accounts and transactions.

To dispute a new, unauthorized account, it is advisable to Use the FTC's I.D. Theft Affidavit. See: offsite link.

Step 4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

You can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) via:

  • offsite link
  • Telephone:  877.ID.THEFT (877-438-4338) or TDD at 202-326-2502
  • Mail to Consumer Response Center, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580.

Step 5. File a local report.

File a report with your local police or police in the community where the identity theft took place. Give the police a copy of your FTC ID Theft complaint form. Get a copy of the police report (or, at least, the police report number).

If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incidents" report. Alternatively, try another jurisdiction, such as your state police.

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