If your identity is stolen, the impact on your life – including your ability to negotiate and participate in debt settlement – can be enormous. Here is a list of what you should do immediately upon discovery of the theft. It is provided for educational purposes.
The process begins by filing a police report. Keep the original and make copies so it is readily available for whoever needs one.
Call the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline at 877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338) and file a complaint. If your Social Security number has been used to commit the theft of your Identity Theft, make certain to include this fact in your complaint.
Be aware that the FTC does not resolve individual consumer problems itself, but your complaint may lead to law enforcement action.
The three nationwide Credit Reporting Companies may become critical communicators of your problem. Begin by contacting one of the three companies listed here and filling out a fraud affidavit form.
Equifax Fraud Division
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
Experian Fraud Division
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
Trans Union Fraud Division
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
FRAUD ALERTS AND FREE CREDIT REPORTS
The credit reporting company that accepts your request for a Fraud Alert will share your request with the other two nationwide credit reporting companies, which will add the alert to your credit file or request that you provide them additional information.
Now, ask for the free credit report you are entitled to once a year and check to see how much damage the Identity Thief may have done. Also, be sure to look for any new accounts that may have been fraudulently opened.
If an account was opened fraudulently and is identified in a police report as being fraudulent, you can provide a copy of the police report and request that credit reporting companies block the reporting of the fraudulent account in your credit file.
Certain states allow you to place a Security Freeze on your credit file, which will prevent the agency from reporting your credit file to all third parties except as otherwise directed by you. Fees are typically required depending on the services provided by each agency.
Contact all your banks and creditors. Explain your situation and ask them to close your accounts. Most creditors promptly issue replacement cards with new account numbers.
Contact the U.S. Postal Service and check your address. If the mail was used in your ID Theft or a change of address was been made by the thief at the post office, advise the Postal Inspector.
Postal Inspector: 877-876-2455
If your Social Security number was used to commit Identity Theft, aside from informing the FTC, you should order a copy of your earnings and benefits statement to check whether someone has used your Social Security number to get a job or to avoid paying taxes.
Notify the U.S. State Department’s Passport Services Department of the Identity Theft so that it can intercept anyone ordering a new passport in your name.
U.S. State Department – Passport Services: 877-487-2778
Contact the Internal Revenue Service to determine if any fraudulent information has been entered on any of your tax returns or – and this definitely is known to happen – a refund issued by the IRS to the Identity Thief.
www.irs.gov – 800-829-1040
Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to see if your driver’s license has been used fraudulently.
Lastly, if the fraud was perpetrated as part of a business scam, contact the National Fraud Information Center.
NATIONAL FRAUD INFORMATION CENTER: 800-876-7060
More Identity Theft information and other financial tips may be viewed in the SettleiTsoft® Knowledge Base.