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About Basic Steps
Having your identity stolen doesn’t mean you should panic, as there are steps you can take toward a quick recovery.
Don’t wait on the bank.
Self-detection, along with proactive identity theft protection, is the key to a quick recovery. If you wait for a bank or credit agency to notify you of a problem, the damage is already done.
It’s important to frequently review your accounts and records for misuse or fraud. Victims who discovered fraud on their own experienced less damage than those who had been notified by a financial institution or government agency.1
It’s also recommended to monitor accounts electronically. In fact, victims who discovered fraud through electronic monitoring detect the misuse 18 days sooner than when monitoring by paper.1
Act fast. Recover fast.
In the unfortunate circumstance that you are a victim of identity theft, you’ve got to take the proper steps quickly.
- Contact one of the three credit bureaus. Whichever bureau you contact is required by law to contact the other two.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
- Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can do this by going to www.ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT.
- Contact any other government agencies affected. Agencies to consider:
- Postal Inspection Services if you believe an identity thief has used a change of address form.
- The Social Security Administration if an identity thief may be using your Social Security number.
- The Internal Revenue Service if you think you may be a victim of tax or employment fraud.
- Contact any businesses or accounts that may be involved: the location your items were stolen, accounts with fraudulent charges, businesses that leaked your information, etc.
- File a police report. You can turn to your local police department or file in the community where your identity was stolen.
1 Javelin Strategy & Research. “2012 Identity Fraud Report."
† FTC. “Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book For January – December 2011.” February 2012.
† Javelin Strategy & Research. "2012 Identity Fraud Report."