If you become a victim, there are a few steps you should take to protect yourself from any further harm.
Contact the 3 Major Credit Bureaus
Review Your Credit Reports
Review your credit reports every 6 months. Contact and close any accounts you believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
Change Your PIN Numbers & Passwords
Make sure to change your PIN numbers and passwords on existing accounts.
Contest All Fraudulent Accounts
Contest all fraudulent accounts with the financial institution or business in writing and follow up by sending them the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Affidavit. A form Affidavit may be found on the Federal Trade Commission website.
File a Police Report & Get a Copy
The police report should identify all fraudulent activity. Under the “Police Report Initiative,” the credit bureaus will accept a copy of the police report to block any fraudulent account information from appearing on your credit report.
Contact the Federal Trade Commission
Contact the Federal Trade Commission at 877-IDTHEFT or on their website. They will enter your complaint information into the national identity theft database and provide victim assistance and consumer education materials. Their website will also provide additional information about your rights as a victim and further explain all of the steps you will need to repair your credit rating. Unfortunately, repairing your credit can be a time consuming and frustrating undertaking.
Keep a detailed log of every step you take. Your records will be valuable as you contest fraudulent activity and just as valuable to law enforcement if an investigation is conducted.
For More Information
For further information about Financial Crimes, please visit the U.S. Secret Service’s website.