What should victims do?
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, we urge you to take the following steps as soon as possible:
- File a fraud alert with one of the three national credit bureaus. The credit bureau with which you choose to file a fraud alert is required to contact the other two, which will then place a fraud alert on your credit reports with their bureau as well. Once a fraud alert has been placed on your credit file, if an application for credit is filed in your name, and the prospective creditor checks your credit report, the prospective creditor will be alerted to the possibility of identity theft. That prospective creditor can then check directly with you before completing the credit transaction. Visit our resources page to obtain contact information for the three bureaus.
- File an identity theft report with your local law enforcement agency.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. It is imperative that you contact the company involved to dispute the fraudulent transactions or accounts. You should follow up with the company in writing. It is recommended that you send all correspondence by certified mail. Ask the company whether a fraud affidavit is required. If a fraud affidavit is required, the company may send you its specific affidavit or you can get an I.D. theft affidavit from the publication Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft. These materials are available at the Federal Trade Commission's national identity theft resource webpage.
- File an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or call (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338).
- Consider placing a Security Freeze on your credit report. Any person, whether victim of identity theft or not, may place a security freeze on their credit report. If you have been a victim of identity theft, or if you are 65 or older, you may freeze your credit report without charge. A security freeze is designed to restrict access to your credit report and help prevent additional instances of identity theft.
- Consider requesting an Identity Theft Passport provided by the Attorney General’s office.