Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Recognizing identity theft

There are several signs you may be a victim of fraud or identity theft:

  • Not receiving bills or other mail you should be getting
  • Receiving credit cards you didn’t apply for
  • Being denied credit for no reason
  • Getting calls or letters about things you didn’t buy
  • Being served court papers or arrest warrants for things you know don’t involve you

If one of the above has happened to you, it may simply be due to a clerical error. But never assume that it’s just a mistake – always look into it to find out for sure.

What to do if you’re a victim

  1. Report the crime to the police immediately.
    • Be sure to get a copy of your police report or case number
  2. Immediately contact your credit card issuers.
    • Get replacement cards with new account numbers
    • Ask that old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer's request”
    • Follow up by writing a letter that summarizes your request to the credit card company
  3. Place a fraud alert on your credit report
    • Alert all 3 credit reporting bureaus
    • Add a victim's statement to your report so that they must contact you to verify future credit applications
    • Credit bureau contact information
  4. Correct any inaccurate information
    • Request that inquiries you didn’t initiate be removed from your report
    • Make sure your Social Security Number, address, name, employer, and other important information are all correct
    • Check to ensure all changes you requested have been made
  5. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Response Center
    Federal Trade Commission
    600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW Washington, DC 20580
    Toll-free: 1.877.FTC.HELP
    TDD: 202.326.2502
For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit

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