What to Do if Your Identity Is Stolen

Posted on April 9, 2004 by

• Act quickly. Call the police and ask for a crime report. You’ll need to attach it to the letters you will send to banks and credit card issuers.

• File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by contacting its Identity Theft Hotline: 877-438-4338; or by mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580. For online help, go to www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

• Contact the fraud departments of one of the three major credit bureaus and report that your identity has been stolen. (It’s no longer necessary to call all three.) Ask that a “fraud alert” be placed on your file to ensure that no new credit will be granted without your approval.

• For any accounts that have been accessed or opened fraudulently, contact the security departments of the appropriate creditors or financial institutions and close these accounts immediately. Put passwords (not your mother’s maiden name) on any new accounts you open.

• Run a background check on yourself periodically. For $40, you can run a check through www.privacyscan.com.

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