Knowledge Base

What do I do if I am a victim of identity theft?

Category: Detective Services

If you are a victim of identity theft, take the following steps as soon as possible, and keep a record with the details of your conversations and copies of correspondence:

  1. Place a Fraud Alert on your credit report and review your credit report. Contact one of the following three numbers to place an alert: Equifax 1-800-525-6285, Experian 1-888-EXPERIAN, or TransUnion 1-800-680-7289. You only have to place the fraud alert with one of these agencies. Federal law requires that they forward the fraud alert information to the other two credit reporting bureaus.
  2. Close the accounts that you know, or suspect have been compromised or opened fraudulently. If the identity thief has made charges or debits on your accounts, or on fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions. Request that the lender provide all information and documentation they can about the fraudulently opened accounts. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that lending agencies provide this information to victims of Identity Theft. This information will be crucial in initiating a criminal investigation.
  3. File a report with your local Police Department or the Police Department with jurisdiction where the identity theft took place or the Police Department where you lived during the time the incident occurred. Colorado Identity Theft Law allows you to file the report in either location. Provide all available documentation to the Police Department at the time you file your report. Maintain copies of all of the documentation you receive for your own files (this includes copies of any forms that you fill out and return to the lenders during the dispute process).
  4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can file a complaint with the FTC using the online complaint form or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, 1-877-438-4338.

How to minimize risks of identity theft:

  1. On a regular basis, order and review your credit reports. Order reports from all three bureaus (or make sure you get a combined report that includes information from all three).
  2. Place passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts (do not repeat passwords or use passwords that are easy to guess).
  3. Secure personal information in your home, or use a bank safety deposit box.
  4. Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know who you're dealing with.
  5. Deposit your outgoing mail in Post Office collection boxes (use the ones inside the Post Office lobby, not the ones on the curb). Promptly remove mail from your mailbox, or better yet, receive all of your incoming mail at a Post Office Box.
  6. Shred or otherwise destroy your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you're discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.
  7. Don't carry your social security number card on your person.
  8. Give your social security number only when absolutely necessary.
  9. Be cautious when responding to promotions. Identity thieves may create phony promotional offers (referred to as phishing scams) to get you to give them your personal information.
  10. Keep your purse or wallet in a safe place at work.
  11. When ordering new checks, pick them up from the bank instead of having them mailed to your home mailbox.
Updated 4/2/2018 12:26 PM
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