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What to Do If You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

If you have already been victimized, or if your wallet has been lost or stolen, here are some helpful suggestions on the actions you should take in order to limit your liability.

  • Immediately call your credit card companies and notify them of the situation. Cancel your old cards and get new cards with new account numbers and new PIN numbers. You will want to do the same for your ATM card. In most cases your losses will be limited to $50 if you report your card as lost or stolen within 2 days of discovering the loss, and you will not be responsible for anything once you have reported your card as lost or stolen. Follow up in writing.

  • File a report with the police, and if the mail was involved, notify your local Postal Inspector. Be sure to get copies of the report so that you can provide your creditors with a copy.

  • Call the 3 national credit bureaus (To report fraud, call Equifax @ 1-800-525-6285, Experian @ 1-888-397-3742, and Trans Union @ 1-800-680-7289) and ask them to flag your accounts with a "fraud alert." Follow up in writing.

  • If your driver's license was lost or stolen, contact the DMV immediately and ask them to put a "fraud alert" on your license. You can call the DMV Fraud Hotline at 1-866-658-5758.

  • If your keys were lost, change the locks on your home and car.

  • If your checkbook is lost or stolen, report the loss to the bank. Cancel your old checking and savings accounts and open new ones. Report the stolen checks to the check verification companies that retail stores use. You can call TeleCheck @ 1-800-710-9898, Certegy, Inc. @ 1-800-437-8120, and International Check Services at 1-888-460-9739.

  • You may also consider calling your telephone and utility company to alert them that someone may try to get new service using your identification.

  • If you are a victim of identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC is a federal clearing house for victims of identity theft, and can provide assistance to victims by providing them with information to help them resolve the difficulties, financial and otherwise, associated with identity theft.

Additional Resources

What You Can Learn From Identity Theft Victims

What To Do if You Think You're Already a Victim

Victim's Guide