Actions You Can Take If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when your personal information (such as name, Social Security number, credit card numbers or bank account numbers) is used by another person to conceal crimes or get credit fraudulently. There are several important steps to take if you are the victim of identity theft.

Report the Theft or Fraudulent Use of your Information Promptly

First, report the theft/use to your local police promptly and get a copy of the police report. Second, contact the three main credit agencies, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian, to get your credit report. Equifax: www.equifax.com; Experian: www.experian.com; Trans Union: www.transunion.com. As a victim of credit fraud you are entitled to a free copy. These agencies can also provide fraud alert services for a fee. They can also put a temporary “freeze” on your credit report preventing anyone from accessing your file without specific permission. Third, complete the Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Affidavit (www.consumer.gov/idtheft) and give it to all credit providers and other companies who have given credit or given loan money to the thief in your name.

Notify Your Bank, Credit Card Companies and the Social Security Administration

Notify the Social Security Administration if your Social Security number was used by anyone else. Notify your bank and credit card companies if your bank account, checking account or credit card numbers were used by anyone without your consent. The Federal Trade Commission identity theft web site at www.consumer.gov/idtheft and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse also provides other helpful advice. Their web site is at www.privacyrights.org.