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If you become a victim of identity theft

If you believe that someone has stolen your identity, you should:

Contact the fraud department of each of the three major credit bureaus to report the identity theft and request that the credit bureaus place a fraud alert and a victim's statement in your file.  The fraud alert puts creditors on notice that you have been a victim of fraud, and the victim's statement asks them not to open additional accounts without first contacting you.  The following are the telephone numbers for the fraud departments of the three national bureaus:

Trans Union: 1-800-680-7289;

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;

Experian: 1-888-397-3742.

You may request a free copy of your credit report.  Credit bureaus must provide a free copy of your report, if you have reason to believe the report is inaccurate because of fraud and you submit a request in writing.

Review your report to make sure no additional fraudulent accounts have been opened in your name, or unauthorized charges made to your existing accounts.  Also, check the section of your report that lists "inquiries" and request that any inquiries from companies that opened the fraudulent accounts be removed.

Contact any bank or creditor where you have an account that you think may be the subject of identity theft.  Advise them of the identity theft.  Request that they restrict access to your account, change your account password, or close your account, if there is evidence that your account has been the target of criminal activity.  If your bank closes your account, ask them to issue you a new credit card, ATM card, debit card, or checks as appropriate.

File a report with your local police department.

Contact the FTC's identity theft hotline toll free at 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) the FTC puts the information into a secure consumer fraud database and shares it with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

Reprinted with permission of the Office of the Comptroller of Currency.

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