Recovering from Identity Theft

Recovering from Identity Theft

If someone stole your identity, act fast. Fast action can help reduce the damage identity theft can cause.

What should I do if a thief uses my information?

Step 1: Place an initial fraud alert on your three credit reports

  • Call any one of the three credit reporting That company must tell the other two.

Fraud departments of the credit reporting companies:

>    Equifax


>    Experian


>    Transunion

1-800-680- 7289

Step 2: Order your credit reports

  • Call all three credit reporting companies and order your credit report from Identity theft victims can get the reports for free.
  • You might know that some of your accounts are affected by identity Contact those accounts now. Talk to someone in the fraud department of the company. Then write the company a letter.

Step 3: Create an Identity Theft Report

Submit a complaint to the FTC. You can call or do it online.

  • By phone: Call 1-877-438-4338 (1-866-653-4261 TTY)

>     talk to a counselor. The counselor will ask questions to gather information about your complaint ask the counselor

to email you a link so you can print your complaint. Your completed complaint is called the  “Identity Theft


>     go online to save or print your Identity Theft Affidavit.

  • Online: Go to gov/complaint

>     Type your information into the online form, following the prompts on every screen.

>     Review all the information you typed

>     Click the button to submit your complaint. Your submitted complaint is called an “Identity Theft Affidavit”

>     Save the complaint reference number

>     Click the link to save the Identity Theft Affidavit to your computer

>     Print your Identity Theft Affidavit. Keep it in a safe place.

  • File a police Take your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit with you

>     Get a copy of the police report or the number of the police report

  • Attach your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit to your police That is your Identity Theft Report. Keep it in a safe place.


September 2012 /   Federal Trade Commission /

Avoiding Identity Theft

Avoiding Identity Theft

Identity theft can make it hard for you to get credit, a job, a place to live, or utilities. But you can reduce your risk of being hurt by identity theft.

How can I protect my identity?

Protect your personal information. That helps you protect your identity. Here are some things you can do:

  • At home

>    keep your financial records, Social Security and Medicare cards in a safe place

>    shred papers that have your personal or medical information

>    take mail out of your mailbox as soon as you can

  • As you do business

>    only give your Social Security number if you must. Ask if you can use another kind of identification

>     do not give your personal information to someone who calls you or emails you

  • On the computer

>      use passwords that are not easy to guess. Use numbers and symbols when you can

>    do not respond to emails or other messages that ask for personal information

>    do not put personal information on a computer in a public place, like the library

How will I know if someone steals my identity?

Read your bills and account statements. Watch for:

  • things you did not buy
  • withdrawals you did not make
  • a change of your address that you did not expect
  • bills that stop coming

Look at medical statements. You might see charges you do not recognize. That might mean someone stole your identity.

Get your credit report. You get one free credit report every year from each credit reporting company. To order:

  • Call Annual Credit Report at 1-877-322-8228.
  • Answer questions from a recorded You have to give your address, Social Security number, and birthdate.
  • Choose to only show the last four numbers of your Social Security It is safer than showing the full number on our report.
  • Choose which credit reporting company you want a report (You get one report free from each company every year.)

The company mails your report to you. It should arrive two to three weeks after you call.

Read your credit report carefully. Look for mistakes or accounts you do not recognize. This could mean someone stole your identity.


September 2012 / Federal Trade Commission /