Protecting Your Identity
There are many resources available to help you protect your identity. The Federal Trade Commission is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. They provide detailed information to help you Deter, Detect, and Defend against identity theft. While there are no guarantees about avoiding identity theft, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk and minimize the damage if a problem occurs.
- Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information
- Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements
- Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect a problem
If you think your identity has been stolen, here’s what to do:
1. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. 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.
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
2. Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
3. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
4. File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline: 1-877-438-4338; TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580.
For more information, please visit the Federal Trade Commissions Consumer web site