Sometimes, an identity thief can strike even if you've been very careful about keeping your personal information to yourself. If you suspect that your personal information has been hijacked and misappropriated to commit fraud or theft, take action immediately! Keep a record of your conversations and correspondence.
Your First Three Steps
First, contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus.
Tell them that you are an identity theft victim. Request that a "fraud alert" be placed in your file, as well as a victim's statement asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts or changing your existing accounts. This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. At the same time, order copies of your credit reports from the credit bureaus. Credit bureaus must give you a free copy of your report if your report is inaccurate because of fraud and you request it in writing.
Second, contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Creditors can include credit card companies, phone companies and other utilities, banks and other lenders. Ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each creditor and follow up with a letter.
Third, file a report with your local police.
Get a copy of the police report in case the bank, credit card company, or others need proof of the crime. Even if the police can't catch the identity thief in your case, having a copy of the police report can help you when dealing with creditors. In addition, if your checks have been stolen or misused, stop payment. Also contact the major check verification companies to request that they notify retailers using their databases not to accept these checks, or ask your bank to notify the check verification service with which it does business.
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