Identity theft occurs when someone uses an individual’s personal information in order to commit fraud, obtain credit or other benefits or other crimes. If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, there are certain steps you can take to restore your name and personal information.
First Steps for Victims of Identity Theft
- Keep track:
a. Write down the names and contact information for each person or agency contacted and a summary of the discussion.
b. Make copies of the correspondence.
- Close your accounts – Contact your Financial Institutions: If the theft involves existing accounts (bank or credit union accounts or credit and/or debit card accounts), you should take the following action:
a. Close all bank, credit union and credit card accounts that were compromised or used fraudulently.
b. Close any accounts accessible by a compromised debit card.
c. When opening new accounts, place a password or PIN on the account.
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission either online via the ID Theft Link at www.consumer.gov or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT. The website provides additional detailed information on identity theft prevention and repair. Print a copy of your FTC complaint/report – provide the information to law enforcement.
- File a police report.
- File a fraud alert. Request the credit bureaus place a fraud alert on your file. The fraud alert will place a notice on your credit report that you have been the victim of identity theft.
- File a report with the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). The IC3 accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the actual victim or from a third party to the complainant.
Court Orders to Correct Public Records
Upon a criminal conviction the law authorizes the courts to issue an order for the victim to use in correcting public records that contain false information due to the theft of identity. For example - arrest records in the victim's name that were the result of the defendant using the victim's name at the time of arrest.
More information can be found at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/.