Defend: What If I'm A Victim


What To Do If You're A Victim

Place a “fraud alert” on your credit reports, and review these reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer-reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert. A call to one of these companies is sufficient:

  • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
  • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742)
  • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open and debts on your accounts that you can’t explain. If you notice these or other suspicious activities, do the following:

Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.

  1. Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your approval. Follow up, in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
  2. Use the ID Theft Affidavit at ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
  3. Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
  4. Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.

File a police report. File a report with law enforcement agencies to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime.

Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement agencies across the country in their investigations.

  1. Online: ftc.gov/idtheft
  2. By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); the TTY number is 1-866-653-4261
  3. By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580