Identity theft is a serious crime. Identity theft happens when someone uses information about you without your permission. They could use your:
Here are ways you can tell that someone is using your information:
A credit reporting company creates your credit report. That company gathers information about you and your credit history.
There are three main credit reporting companies:
A fraud alert tells businesses that they must contact you before they give someone credit in your name. A fraud alert protects your credit.
There are a few kinds of fraud alerts:
An Identity Theft Report is made from information you give the government and the police. It is your statement of what happened. It also lists what accounts are not yours and what charges you did not make.
The Identity Theft Report helps you fix your bills and your credit report. Your Identity Theft Report tells your creditors that you should not have to pay for what the identity thief spent.Read more
It is very important to act fast:
If you wait, the identity thief has more time to cheat you. Here is how these three steps help you:
Here is how to create your Identity Theft Report:
There is a lot to think about and do. Recovering from identity theft can take time. It helps to write things down.
Set up a file system to store:
Keep records of the letters you send or get and the conversations you have. You might need the records to prove that you already fixed something.
When you mail things, ask for a return receipt. This means you will get a receipt in the mail. This is proof that you sent the letter and the company got it.
When you know your identity was stolen, you can put an extended fraud alert on your credit report. An extended fraud alert is good for seven years.
To ask for an extended fraud alert, contact each credit reporting company. You might have to give them a copy of your Identity Theft Report. Never send the original document. Send a copy.
Write a letter to the three credit reporting companies. Get the mailing address when you call the fraud departments of each credit reporting company.
To correct your existing accounts:
Your letter should:
Ask the company to send you a letter that says:
If someone stole your identity, act fast. Fast action can help reduce the damage identity theft can cause.
Step 1: Place an initial fraud alert on your three credit reports
Call any one of the three credit reporting companies. That company must tell the other two.
Fraud departments of the credit reporting companies:
Step 2: Order your credit reports
Step 3: Create an Identity Theft Report
Submit a complaint to the FTC. You can call or do it online.
By phone: Call 1-877-438-4338 (1-866-653-4261 TTY)
Online: Go to ftc.gov/complaint