Dealing with Identity Theft

Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or other personal information, without your permission, to commit fraud.

If your identity is stolen, your financial records and credit rating are at risk. Immediately contact your financial institution and all creditors. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened. Recap the contact in writing, including the names of the representatives you’ve spoken with, and send the letters and any photocopies of supporting documents via certified mail to the companies you’ve contacted.

Contact the three major credit bureaus - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. Request for your accounts to be flagged so no new credit is granted without permission and ask for a copy of your credit report from each agency.

Change all of your passwords. Use strong passwords that include numbers and special characters such as @ and $. For added protection, change your passwords frequently.

Notify your local police department and file an identity theft report. Mail copies to all of your creditors and financial institutions. You may be required to file an additional report in the location where the crime occurred.

Keep careful, written records of everything. File copies of all documents such as emails, messages, letters, and records of phone calls in a safe place.