If your private financial information gets into the wrong hands, the consequences can be devastating. There are many ways you can help protect yourself on a daily basis, from taking precautions online to checking your credit report periodically. Sometimes, however, the precautions aren’t enough and you find yourself a victim of identity theft. If so, it’s important that you act quickly. Contacting the correct agencies and filing the necessary reports will go a long way toward minimizing any damage to your financial well-being.
Report the fraud to law enforcement.
Report identity theft to your local police department. If the crime occurred somewhere other than where you live, you may want to report it to law enforcement there as well. The police will create an “identity theft report” and you can request a copy.
Contact the credit reporting companies.
Immediately contact the fraud departments of each of the credit bureaus listed below. Alert them that you have been a victim of identity theft, and request that a fraud alert be placed in your file. You can also request a security freeze, preventing credit issuers from obtaining access to your credit files without your permission. This prevents thieves from opening new credit cards in your name.
File a fraud report.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) does not investigate identity theft cases, but it can share information that you provide, such as the identity theft report number, with investigators nationwide. For more information about fighting back against identity theft, visit the FTC's Identity Theft website or call the hotline: 877-IDTHEFT (877-438-4338).
Create a fraud recovery plan.
The Federal Trade Commission can help you create a recovery plan if you’ve become a victim of identity theft. When you report what happened, you’ll receive a personalized recovery plan and can track your progress online step-by-step. Learn more at https://identitytheft.gov.
Credit Bureau Contact Information
Order Credit Report: 1-800-685-1111
Fraud Hotline: 1-888-766-0008
Report Order: 1-888-397-3742
Fraud Hotline: 1-888-397-3742
Report Order: 1-877-322-8228
Fraud Hotline: 1-800-680-7289