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If it happens to you

Once you know that you have been a victim of identity theft, it is extremely important that you take the following actions immediately, but not necessarily in the order given. A speedy response is critical to establishing your intent to repair the damage. Be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort to repair the damage done by the identity thief.

  1. Keep a permanent record of all of your documentation and a calendar of the actions you take in response to the theft of your identity, including names and contact information of all persons you speak with.
  2. Change the passwords on all of your online accounts, starting with any that are related to financial institutions or information.
  3. Contact each of the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
  4. Contact the businesses and cancel or freeze the accounts that have been affected. Talk to their security or fraud department and explain what has happened.
  5. File a police report with your local police department. Keep a copy readily available.
  6. Fill out an ID Theft Affidavit and submit it to each company that issued credit in your name. The affidavit and instructions are available at
  7. Submit a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
  8. Notify your local Post Office or postal inspector if you suspect that your mailing address has been fraudulently used or changed.
  9. Ask to see copies of the paperwork for any unauthorized account opened in your name. You have that right as part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
  10. Call the Internal Revenue Service (1-800-829-0433) if you suspect the improper use of your identity in connection with tax violations.
  11. Contact the Social Security Administration about any loss, misuse or attempts to apply for or change benefits.
  12. If the problem involves a major credit card, contact the company:
    Visa - (800) 847-2911
    Master Card - (800) MC-ASSIST
    American Express - (800) 554-AMEX
  13. If the problem involves checks or a credit, ATM or debit card, contact the bank or credit union directly.
  14. Homeowners insurance policies do not cover "Identity Fraud Expenses." Check with your insurance compant to see what they do cover.
  15. See the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Site.

Go to Identity Theft main page.

Page last modified June 16, 2009 by cawalker

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