When you believe identity theft has taken place, here are steps you can take:
- Place an initial fraud alert with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion to make it harder for an identity thief to open an account in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must verify your identity before it issues credit. The initial alert stays active for 90 days.
- Order your credit reports. After you place an initial fraud alert, the credit reporting company will explain your rights and how you can get a copy of your credit report. Placing an initial fraud alert entitles you to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies.
- Create an identity theft report to help you deal with credit reporting agencies, debt collectors and businesses that opened accounts in your name. Submit a complaint about the theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). After you complete the FTC complaint report, print a copy. It will print as an Identity Theft Affidavit. Take your Identity Theft Affidavit to the police department and file a report. Obtain a copy of the police report or the report number. Attach your Identity Theft Affidavit to your police report to make an Identity Theft Report.
The Identity Theft Report can be used to:
- Get fraudulent information removed from your credit report
- Stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft or from selling the debt to another company for collection
- Get information from companies about accounts the identity thief opened or misused