What to do if you are a Victim of Identity Theft

Being a victim of identity theft can be a difficult and time-consuming process. The Grass Valley Police Department understands that there are hardships and stresses that go along with being a victim of identity theft. It is out intention to provide information and assistance as you go through the process of getting your identity back.

Step 1: Identifying

If you have credit cards that are missing or stolen, contact those creditors and have stops put on the cards so as to prevent any unauthorized transactions, follow the credit card companys procedures for disputing the charge.

Looking for clues of identity theft can include receiving mail or phone calls stating that you owe money on accounts for which you do not have. Be aware of other signs including receiving statements with incorrect spellings of your name, cards or accounts belonging to a department store, gas station or any other type of business that issues accounts with credit.

If you are receiving phone calls from a creditor stating that you owe money for debt that you did not incur, you are likely a victim of identity theft.


Step 2: Making Contact

Contact the three major credit reporting agencies and have your social security number flagged as an identity theft victim or potential victim. Also, obtain a copy of your credit report from all three agencies. After obtaining your credit report, it is very important to check it thoroughly for any fraudulent inquires or activity on your report. Contact the credit agencies (including the company of the fraudulent transactions along with the credit reporting agency) with the fraudulent activity and follow their guidelines for disputing the suspect inquiry.

Credit Reporting Agencies

• Equifax 1-800-525-6285
• Experian 1-888-Experian
• Trans Union 1-800-680-7289

Most people are eligible for one free copy of their credit report each year.

Make a report with the Federal Trade Commission on their website at: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/


Step 3: Taking Control

Although identity thieves can wreak havoc on your personal finances, there are some things you can do to take control of the situation. Heres how to handle some of the most common forms of identity theft.

If an identity thief has stolen your mail to obtain access to new credit cards, bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers and tax information or falsified change-of-address forms, (s)he has committed a crime. Report it to your local postal inspector.

If you discover that an identity thief has changed the billing address on an existing credit card account, close the account. When you open a new account, ask that a password be used before any inquiries or changes can be made on the account. Avoid using easily available information like your mothers maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security Number or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers. Avoid the same information and numbers when you create a Personal Identification Number (PIN).

If you have reason to believe that an identity thief has accessed your bank account(s) checking account or ATM card, close the account(s) immediately. When you open new accounts, insist on password-only access. If your checks have been stolen or misused, stop payment. If your ATM card has been lost, stolen or otherwise compromised, cancel the card and get another with a new PIN.

If it appears that someone is using your SSN when applying for a job, get in touch with the Social Security Administration (SSA) to verify the accuracy of your reported earnings and that your name is reported correctly. Call 1 (800) 772-1213 to check your Social Security Statement.