For those who believe they have been a victim of identity fraud, there are a few steps you should take to stop identity theft. By following these steps, you will be able to alleviate any damage done by a criminal who has stolen your identity
To stop identity theft, begin by placing a fraud alert on all your credit reports. Contact one of the credit bureaus at the following numbers:
Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289
Once you contact one of the 3 major credit bureaus, that credit bureau will contact the other credit agencies. At this point, you are entitled to a free report from each credit bureau. Once you receive the report, go over it in detail, examine the personal information and try to identify the fraudulent accounts. If any personal information is incorrect and there are accounts you do not recognize, have the credit agency remove them from your report.
If you find any accounts that are fraudulent, call that company. Ask to speak with the fraud department and inform them of the fraudulent activity. Follow up with a certified letter to the company requesting the account be closed. If you find fraudulent charges on an account that you have opened, contact the company and ask what steps you must take to have those charges removed. Request a letter from the company that states the account has been closed or the false charges have been removed. Keep all correspondence for your records.
Federal Trade Commission
File a complaint with the FTC. Their toll free number is 1-877-438-4338. Or you can go online and file an online complaint form informing the agency of the identity theft. This information will help the FTC track down identical criminal activity from around the country. Use the online complaint form to file with a police report. Make a copy of both forms as this Identity Theft Report will help stop identity theft by blocking fraudulent data from your credit report. This will help to keep fraudulent debt from showing up on your credit report and allow a fraud alert to be placed on the credit report.
Be sure to file a report with your local police department. Sometimes your local police department might not want to take a report. If this is the case, ask to file a miscellaneous incident report or file with the state police. When filing a police report, be sure to attach a copy of the Federal Trade Commission complaint form. Also, make sure you get a copy of the police report for your records. Finally, try getting in touch with the office of your State Attorney General as many have a task force to stop identity theft.
Identity theft is one of the most debilitating crimes a victim can suffer through. In 2008, 48 billion dollars were lost to identity theft, according to the research institute Javelin Strategy and Research Institute at www.javelinstrategy.com.
Oftentimes, it takes years and plenty of expense to recover from this fraud. By acting quickly and contacting the appropriate agencies, you will help to prevent extensive damage to your credit.