Friday, December 14, 2007

What to do when your ID's been stolen?

Step 1: Protect your finances
Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus.

Get a copy of your credit report, which is free to ID theft victims. Ask that your file be flagged with a "fraud alert tag" and a "victim's statement." That will limit the thief's ability to open new credit accounts, as new creditors will call you before granting credit, generally. Insist, in writing, that the fraud alert remain in place for seven years, the maximum, according to

Step 2: File a police report
You will need a police report to dispute unauthorized charges and for any insurance claims. Be persistent; your local police department may suggest that this isn't necessary, because they don't want the paperwork hassle. Also, fill out an online ID Theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-ID-THEFT.

That enters your case in the FTC's "Consumer Sentinel" database, a nationwide list of ID theft cases which can be used by law enforcement officers to find patterns and catch criminals.

Step 3: Close all compromised accounts
The list may be wider than you realize. This includes accounts with banks, credit card companies and other lenders, and phone companies, utilities, ISPs, and other service providers. Dispute all unauthorized charges - The FTC offers a sample dispute letter on its Web site. Disputes may require a sworn statement and a police report. The FTC also offers a form affidavit which can be used for the sworn statement at .

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What to do when your ID's been stolen? ~ - How's Your Credit? - Blog