Identity theft, financial fraud and scams are terms used to describe crimes in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person’s personal data.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act gives you specific rights when you believe that you are the victim of identity theft:
- You can ask the nationwide credit agencies to place “fraud alerts” in your file.
- You have the right to free copies of the information in your file.
- You can request and obtain documents relating to fraudulent transactions made or accounts opened using your personal information.
- You have the right to obtain information from a debt collector.
- If you believe information in your files is the result of identity theft, you can request that the consumer reporting agency block that information from your file.
- You may prevent businesses from reporting information about you to consumer reporting agencies if you believe the information is the result of identity theft.
File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime. Keep a copy of the report.
Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
- Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
- Use the ID Theft Affidavit at ftc.gov/idtheft to support your written statement.
- Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
- Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
- Contact your bank to close accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
- It can be difficult to get new credit while you are clearing up the confusion, therefore, you may want to keep a credit card open that has not been compromised.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.
- Online: ftc.gov/idtheft.
- By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).
- By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.