Once you know that you have been a victim of identity theft, it is extremely important that you take the following actions immediately, but not necessarily in the order given. A speedy response is critical to establishing your intent to repair the damage. Be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort to repair the damage done by the identity thief.
- Keep a permanent record of all of your documentation and a calendar of the actions you take in response to the theft of your identity, including names and contact information of all persons you speak with.
- Change the passwords on all of your online accounts, starting with any that are related to financial institutions or information.
- Contact each of the three credit reporting bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report.
- Contact the businesses and cancel or freeze the accounts that have been affected. Talk to their security or fraud department and explain what has happened.
- File a police report with your local police department. Keep a copy readily available.
- Fill out an ID Theft Affidavit and submit it to each company that issued credit in your name. The affidavit and instructions are available at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2002/02/idtheft.shtm.
- Submit a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
- Notify your local Post Office or postal inspector if you suspect that your mailing address has been fraudulently used or changed.
- Ask to see copies of the paperwork for any unauthorized account opened in your name. You have that right as part of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
- Call the Internal Revenue Service (1-800-829-0433) if you suspect the improper use of your identity in connection with tax violations.
- Contact the Social Security Administration about any loss, misuse or attempts to apply for or change benefits.
- If the problem involves a major credit card, contact one of the credit card companies.
- If the problem involves checks or a credit, ATM, or debit card, contact the bank or credit union directly.
- Homeowners insurance policies do not cover “Identity Fraud Expenses.” Check with your insurance company to see what they do cover.
- See the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Site.
Go to Identity Theft main page.
Go to Safe Computing at NC State.