Even after taking precautions, you may still be susceptible to this damaging crime. If you have become the victim of identity theft, there are ways you can help ensure the process of clearing your name moves smoothly.
1. Contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline 1-877-IDTHEFT (877-438-4338).
2. Contact a list of all the creditors whom you suspect have received fraudulent information. Keep records of all communication with them, including written transcripts of phone conversations and copies of correspondence.
3. Inform the departments of the three major credit bureaus (Yesterday’s Blog), and ask that a “fraud alert” be attached to your file. Although the credit bureaus are not required to offer “fraud alerts,” they generally will. This temporarily alerts a creditor that fraudulent activity may have been conducted on your accounts.
4. Terminate any accounts you were not responsible for opening, or any existing accounts that were fraudulently used.
5. Report any information you have to the police, and be sure to give them copies of all relevant documents.
Depending upon the type of fraud that has been committed, you may need to take some additional steps. For example, if your Social Security number was used false pretenses, contact your local Social Security office. Or, if an identity thief created a cellular phone account with your billing information, contact the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).