Who to Call to Report a Possible ID Theft
If you think you're a victim of identity theft or if you notice something suspicious, get to a phone and call the following:
- The Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is the federal agency responsible for receiving and processing complaints by people who believe they may be victims of identity theft. Trained counselors will provide information on the steps you should take to resolve problems and repair damage to your credit record. Certain cases may be referred to law enforcement agencies, regulatory agencies or private entities that can help. Call toll-free 877-IDTHEFT (438-4338). The FTC also maintains the U.S. government's central Web site for information about identity theft at www.consumer.gov/idtheft. Go there to fill out an online consumer complaint form or link to educational materials.
- The three major credit bureaus. Ask them to place a fraud alert in your file, so that lenders and other users of credit reports will be careful before starting or changing accounts in your name. The special toll-free numbers for the fraud departments are: Equifax at (800) 525-6285, Experian at (888) 397-3742 and Trans Union at (800) 680-7289.
- Your bank, credit card company or any other financial institution that may need to know. Ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud department, and follow up with a letter. If necessary, close old accounts and open new ones, and select new passwords and "PIN" numbers (Personal Identification Numbers). Your call also alerts the financial institution to a possible scam that may be targeting other customers.
- Your local police or the police where the identity theft occurred. Fill out a police report that will detail what happened. Get a copy of the completed report because that can help you clear up questions and problems when dealing with your creditors and other financial institutions.
Reprinted from FDIC Consumer News.