What To Do If You Are A Victim Of Identity Theft

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports IMMEDIATELY and review your credit reports carefully. Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports - so make sure to request them. Look at each credit report for inquiries from companies that you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Three nationwide consumer reporting companies can create an initial 90-day fraud alert. Calling one is sufficient:

P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
Fraud Victim Assistance division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Click here for additional information about Free Annual Credit Reports

2. Close any accounts that were established fraudulently or that have been tampered with in any way. Contest any items on your report that you can't explain .

- Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened, changed, or used without your okay. Follow up in writing with copies of supporting documents.
- Keep a log of all calls that you make. Include the date and time of the call, the name of the company, telephone number, person(s) you talk to, the specific item(s) on your credit report that you discussed, and a summary of the resolution.
- Consider using the Identity Theft Affidavit at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/affidavit.pdf to support your written statement.
- Ask for written verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged. Keep this verification in your files.
- Keep originals of all documents and records relating to this issue. Send only copies of the originals, if requested.
- Send all mail certified with return receipt requested. This will provide proof that the addressee actually received the mail, and the date that they received it.
- Make sure that you understand and honor any deadlines.

3. File a police report. A police report will help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.

4. Report your complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.

Online: Identity Theft Information Center (FTC)
Phone: 1.877.ID.THEFT (438.4338) or TTY, 1.866.653.4261
Mail: Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580
Call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.

5. Check back to make sure that the creditors have actually followed through and fixed your account problems.  (This may take some time and determination...)

6. Your initial fraud alert may last only 90 days (check to make sure when it expires). If your issues are not straightened out by the time your alert expires, re-contact the credit bureau and extend your alert.

For more detailed instructions, see: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/identity-theft-stolen-checklist-29691.html .