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Resolving Identity Theft

WHAT TO DO IF YOU'VE FALLEN VICTIM TO IDENTITY THEFT

 

If you believe that somebody has stolen your identity, initiate the following steps immediately:

1. Contact the fraud departments of either Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion to place a fraud alert on your credit report.

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com;
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com;
P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com;
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you're entitled to order free copies of your credit reports, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Check that information, like your Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed. Continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.

2. Contact Citywide Banks Customer Service at 303-365-3650 and alert them of your ID theft situation. We will help determine the next steps in safeguarding your Citywide Banks accounts.

3. Alert other financial institutions for accounts that you believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing, and include copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. It's important to notify credit card companies and banks in writing. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. Keep a file of your correspondence and enclosures.

When you open new accounts, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.

If the identity thief has made charges or debits on your accounts, or has fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions:

  • For charges and debits on existing accounts, ask the representative to send you the company's fraud dispute forms. If the company doesn't have special forms, use the sample letter from the FTC website to dispute the fraudulent charges or debits. In either case, write to the company at the address given for "billing inquiries," NOT the address for sending your payments.
  • For new unauthorized accounts, ask if the company accepts the Federal Trade Commission's standardized ID Theft Affidavit. This form can be downloaded from FTC website by clicking here.

Once you have resolved your identity theft dispute with the company, ask for a letter stating that the company has closed the disputed accounts and has discharged the fraudulent debts. This letter is your best proof if errors relating to this account reappear on your credit report or you are contacted again about the fraudulent debt.

4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission(FTC), so it can be added to the national database used by law enforcement agencies.

By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC can refer victims' complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violations of laws the agency enforces.

You can file a complaint with the FTC online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov; or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.

Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.

5. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.

Be sure to get a copy of the police report, or at the very least, the number of the report. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of the crime. If the police are reluctant to accept your report, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incidents" report, or try another jurisdiction, such as the state police. You also can check with your state Attorney General's office to find out if state law requires the police to take reports for identity theft. Check the Blue Pages of your telephone directory for the phone number or check www.naag.org for a list of state Attorney Generals.

When you go to your local police department to file a complaint, bring a printed copy of your ID Theft Complaint and your supporting documentation. Ask the officer to attach or incorporate the Complaint into their police report. Also ask the officer to sign the “Law Enforcement Report” section of your Compliant. If the officer wants more information about the ID Theft Report, you can tell them it is available under the Law Enforcement section of the FTC's website at the link for “Identity Theft Report”. Ask the officer to give you a copy of the official police report with your ID Theft Complaint attached or incorporated. (In some jurisdictions the officer will not be able to give you a copy of the official police report, but should be able to sign your Complaint and write the police report number in the “Law Enforcement Report” section.)

The ID Theft Complaint can be used to supplement an automated police report. If you can file an automated police report online, complete the “Automated Report Information” block of the ID Theft Complaint Form. Attach a copy of any confirmation received from the police to your ID Theft Complaint.

Additional information is available at the FTC's Identity Theft website.