What to do if Identity theft strikes

  1. Call the credit bureaus and get their help.

  2. TransUnion Fraud Assistance Department:  800-680-7289

  3. Call the number above. In 24 hours or less, a fraud alert will be put on all your credit reports, alerting creditors to call for permission before opening any accounts in your name. Unfortunately, creditors aren’t required by law to pay attention to fraud alerts, so you’ll have to check your credit reports frequently to make sure no new accounts are opened. If you live in California, Texas, Louisiana, or Vermont, however, you do have the right to put a credit freeze on your account – this will stop any attempt to open new accounts in your name. When you get your credit reports, make a note of your account number – you’ll need it when you talk to the agencies. Also, add a victim’s statement to each of your credit bureau reports asking creditors to contact you in person to verify all applications made in your name.

  4. Lock thieves out of your accounts by changing all your account access information.

  5. Change your account passwords to something unguessable. Contact your banks and have them help you obtain new account numbers for all your accounts. Pick a new PIN number for ATM and debit cards. Close all credit card accounts and reopen them with new account numbers. You may want to contact the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213 to get a new SSN. You also may want to contact your telephone, long distance, water, gas and electrical companies to alert them that someone may try to open an account in your name. You may need to change your driver’s license number if someone is using yours as an ID – go to the Department of Motor Vehicles to get a new number. Contact telephone and utility companies to prevent an ID thief from using a utility bill as proof of residence when applying for new credit.

  6. Report the crime to all relevant authorities.

  7. Call your local police department. Make sure the police report lists all fraudulent accounts. Give as much information as possible. Get a copy of the police report and send it to the creditors and credit-reporting agencies as proof of the crime. Notify the Postal Inspector if you suspect mail theft. Contact the FTC at (877) 438-4338. Fill out the ID Theft Affidavit at the FTC’s Web site, make copies and send to creditors. The agency also has an online complaint form. While their investigators only tend to pursue larger fraud cases, the FTC does monitor all levels of identity theft crimes to find patterns and breaking up bigger identity theft rings. Notify the Office of the Inspector General if your social security number has been used fraudulently. Request a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement and check it for accuracy.

  8. Report all fraudulent transactions to creditors.

  9. Contact creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened without your knowledge. Be sure to put your complaints in writing. Ask each creditor to provide you and your investigating law enforcement agency with copies of the documents showing fraudulent transactions. You may have to fight to get this documentation, but don’t give up. You’ll need these to help track down the perpetrator.

  10. Keep a log of everything you do to resolve problems.

  11. Finally, create a log of all the contacts you make with authorities regarding the matter. Write down each person’s name, title, and phone number in case you need to re-contact them or refer to them in later correspondence.

SOURCE: Myfico.com