What to Do If You Become a Victim of Identity Theft

6 June, 2014

If you suspect that your personal information has been misused to commit fraud or theft, you should act quickly and keep a detailed record of all conversations and correspondence.

Your first three steps should be:

1. Immediately contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus to put a Fraud Alert on your account:

Equifax: http://www.equifax.com
To order your credit report, call: 1-800-685-1111
or write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
To report fraud, call: 1-800-525-6285
and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: http://www.experian.com
To order your credit report, call: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
or write: P.O. Box 2104, Allen TX 75013
To report fraud, call: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
and write: P.O. Box 9532, Allen TX 75013

TransUnion: http://www.transunion.com
To order your credit report, call: 800-916-8800
or write: P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022.
To report fraud, call: 1-800-680-7289
and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

2. Immediately close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

3. Immediately file a police report with your local police or the police in the community where the theft took place.

You can also visit the following websites or else call:
– Federal Trade Commission, 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338)
– Internal Revenue Service (www.irs.gov)
– Social Security Administration, 1-800-269-0271
– National White Collar Crime Center, http://www.nw3c.org

Our society generates an enormous amount of data. Most users of that information are honest, legitimate businesses. But no one, including students, is immune from being a potential victim of identity theft. The financial and emotional consequences of this crime are long term and long lasting. The information provided here gives you the most important number for safeguarding your personal data. There are many other resources available on the Internet.

If you have any questions about this post, need help with your budget, or need to get your personal finances under control, please don’t hesitate to call our office. Don’t struggle on your own — confidential personal financial coaching and counseling services are available.

SMART MONEY TIPS are published to provide practical personal financial tips relating to budgeting, saving, spending, debt, credit, financial wellness, planning for the future, and other personal finance topics. For comments or questions, please e-mail us at at Linda@financialfreedomcoaching.com. We are located in the Tampa Bay, Florida area and are dedicated to educating you to take control of your personal finances and financial future. Services include confidential personal financial coaching and mentoring, personal financial counseling, and financial education through financial literacy seminars. Linda A. Stortz is a CPA and financial literacy advocate, having earned the Accredited Financial Counselor, Certified Credit Counselor, and Certified Credit Report Reviewer credentials. For more tips, please go to http://www.financialfreedomcoaching.com.

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