About Identity Theft
How to Report Identity Theft
What to do if you believe your identity has been compromised
If you believe you may be a victim of identity theft, please take the following steps:
- Visit the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft website or call (877) 438-4338 to report identity theft
- File a police report and retain the report number and the officer's name. Take the following with you:
- a copy of your Identity Theft Report
- a government-issued ID with a photo
- proof of your address (mortgage statement, rental agreement, or utilities bill)
- any other proof you have of the theft (bills, IRS notices, etc.)
- a copy of the FTC's Memo to Law Enforcement
- Contact the companies where the suspected fraud occurred:
- Explain that someone stole your identity
- Ask the business to remove fraudulent charges or close any new accounts opened in your name
- Ask the business to send you a letter confirming that:
- the fraudulent charges and/or accounts are not yours
- you are not liable for the charges/accounts
- the charges/accounts have been removed from your credit report
- Keep the letter in case the charges and/or account appears on your credit report later
- Place a free, 90-day fraud alert by contacting one of the three credit bureaus, Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. That company must tell the other two.
- Get your free credit reports from annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. If you have already ordered your free report for the year you can pay to receive another one immediately or you can follow the instructions in the fraud alert confirmation letter you will receive from each credit bureau.
- Correct your credit report
- Once you have an Identity Theft Report, write to each of the three credit bureaus to request that fraudulent information be removed or blocked from your credit report so that it won't show up on your credit report and you won't be liable for any charges.
- Include a copy of your Identity Theft Report and proof of your identity, like your name, address, and Social Security number.
- Explain which information on your report came from identity theft.
- Ask them to block that information.
- The FTC provides a sample letter to help in this process
- Consider adding an extended fraud alert or credit freeze, which can prevent further misuse of your personal information. The chart below explains the differences between the two:
|Extended Fraud Alert||Credit Freeze|
|Lets you have access to your credit report as long as companies take steps to verify your identity||Stops all access to your credit report unless you lift or remove it|
|Free to place and remove if someone stole your identity. Guaranteed by federal law.||Cost and availability depend on your state law. There might be a small fee for placing, lifting and removing.|
|Lasts for 7 years||Lasts until you lift or remove|
|Set it by contacting each of the three credit bureaus:
||Set it by contacting each of the three credit bureaus.
Credit Bureau Contact Information
How to contact the three major credit bureaus