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The impact of identity theft and online crimes can be greatly reduced if you can catch it shortly after your data is stolen or when the first use of your information is attempted. One of the easiest ways to get the tip-off that something has gone wrong is by reviewing your monthly statements provided by your bank and credit card companies for anything out of the ordinary.
If you know, or even think, you’ve been a victim of identity fraud, take immediate action and follow these five steps.
More specifics can be found on the FTC’s Identity Theft Web site
Report the fraudulent activity. If the activity is related to our financial institution please contact us directly. If it is related to another financial institution, your credit card company, or any other organization contact them directly.
Contact one of the three consumer reporting companies and have a fraud alert placed on your credit report. This will help stop fraudsters from opening any additional accounts in your name. Contact only one of the following (the others are required to contact the other two):
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com;
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
Close any accounts that you know – or even think – might have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Report the transgression to a security spokesperson at the relevant company. Ask them about any additional steps – they’ll probably ask you to send relevant copies of the fraudulent activity.
You can also use the FTC Theft Affadavit ID Theft Affidavit (PDF, 56KB) as formal certification of your dispute.
File your complaint with the FTC. Use the online complaint form; or call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
Sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC will help law enforcement officials track down identity thieves and stop them. Call or visit the local police or police in the community where the identity theft took place and file a report. Have a copy of your FTC ID Theft complaint form available to give them. Obtain a copy of the police report and the police report number.