What to do if you're the victim of identity theft

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Victims themselves have the ability to assist with resolving their case. It is important to act quickly and assertively to minimize the damage.

Once you discover that you have been the victim of identity theft, you should notify the following:

1. Credit Bureau
Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax and Trans Union. Ask that your account be flagged, and that a victim’s statement be added to your report. “My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at (your telephone number) to verify all applications.” Also ask the credit bureaus, in writing, to provide you with a free copy of your credit report every few months so you can monitor your credit.

2. Creditors
Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently – both by phone and in writing. Get replacement cards with new account numbers for your own use. Ask that old accounts be processed as “account closed at customer’s request” (this is better than “card lost or stolen” when this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss). Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity.

3. Law Enforcement
Report the crime to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (or Pinal County Sheriff’s Office if you live in Pinal County). Give them as much documented evidence as possible. Obtain a copy of your police report and keep the report number handy.

4. Stolen Checks
If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the check verification companies. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks of which you are unsure. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Give the bank a secret password for your account.

5. ATM Cards
If your ATM card has been stolen or is compromised, get a new card, account number and password. Do not use your old password. Don’t use the last four digits of your social security number or your birthdate.

6. Fraudulent Change of Address
Notify the local Postal Inspector if you suspect an identity thief has filed a change of address with the post office or has used the mail to commit credit or bank fraud.

7. Social Security Number Misuse
Call the Social Security Administration to report fraudulent use of your social security number. The SSA will change it if you fit their fraud victim criteria. Also order a copy of your Earnings and Benefits Statement and check it for accuracy.

8. Passports
If you have a passport, notify the passport office in writing to be on the lookout for anyone ordering a passport fraudulently.

9. Phone Service
If you discover fraudulent charges on your bill, cancel the account and open a new one. Provide a password which must be used any time the account is changed.

10. Driver License Misuse
You may need to change your driver’s license number if someone is using yours as identification on bad checks. Call the state office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if another license was issued in your name. Put a fraud alert on the license. Go to your local DMV to request a new number. Also, fill out the DMV’s complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process. Send supporting documents with the original complaint form to the nearest DMV investigation office.

11. False Civil and Criminal Judgments
Sometimes victims of identity theft are wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the imposter. If a civil judgment has been entered in your name for actions taken by your imposter, contact the court where the judgment was entered, the state Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), and report that you are a victim of identity theft.

RESOURCES

Credit Reporting Bureaus:

Equifax:
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
Report fraud: call 800-525-6285 and write to the address above.
Order a credit report: 800-685-1111
equifax.com

Experian:
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
Report fraud: call 888-397-3742 and write to the address above.
Order a credit report: 888-397-3742
experian.com

Trans Union:
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
Report fraud: call 800-680-7289 and write to the address above.
Order a credit report: 800-888-4213
transunion.com

Social Security Administration
SSA Fraud Hotline
P.O. Box 17768
Baltimore, MD 21235
Report fraud: 800-269-0271
Order your Earnings and Benefits Statement: 800-772-1213

Postal Inspection Service
P.O. Box 2000
Pasadena, CA 91102-2000
Report fraud: 626-405-1200
usps.com/postalinspectors

To report fraudulent use of your checks:
Chexsystems: 800-428-9623
Equifax: 800-437-5120
International Check Services: 800-526-5380
SCAN: 800-262-7771
Telecheck: 800-710-9898

Other useful resources:
Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Data Clearing House
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
Report Fraud: 877-438-4338
consumer.gov/idtheft

Federal Government Information Center
Call 800-688-9889 for help in obtaining government agency phone numbers
firstgov.gov

Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office
Non-emergency hotline: 602-876-1011
Queen Creek Substation/Crime Prevention (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., excluding holidays): 480-458-5408