If You Are a Victim
If you think your identity has been stolen, file a police report, place a fraud alert on your credit with Equifax 800-525-6285, Experian 888-397-3742, and TransUnion Corp 800-680-7289, close all affected accounts, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online or call 877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338) or TDD at 202-326-2502 or by mail to:
Consumer Response Center, FTC
600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20580
Consider Setting Up a Fraud Alert
There are 2 types of fraud alerts.
An initial alert stays on your credit report for at least 90 days. You may ask that an initial fraud alert be placed on your credit report if you suspect you have been, or are about to be, a victim of identity theft. An initial alert is appropriate if your wallet has been stolen or if youve been taken in by a phishing scam. When you place an initial fraud alert on your credit report, youre entitled to one free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies.
An extended alert stays on your credit report for seven years. You can have an extended alert placed on your credit report if youve been a victim of identity theft and you provide the consumer reporting company with an identity theft report. When you place an extended alert on your credit report, youre entitled to two free credit reports within 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. In addition, the consumer reporting companies
will remove your name from marketing lists for pre-screened credit offers for five years unless you ask them to put your name back on the list before then.
To place either of these alerts on your credit report, you will be required to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number (SSN), name, address and other personal information requested by the consumer reporting company. To remove the fraud alert, you will need a copy of an identity theft report and proof of your identity.
When a business sees the alert on your credit report, they must verify your identity before issuing you credit. As part of this verification process, the business may try to contact you directly. This may cause some delays if you're trying to obtain credit.
To compensate for possible delays, you may wish to include a cell phone number, where you can be reached easily, in your alert.
Additional Alert Information
Remember to keep all contact information in your alert current.
Also keep in mind that an alert is only as effective as a business that checks for these alerts. While it may be obvious that business / financial institutions should check for alerts, there are some incidents where the identity is not checked thoroughly or checked consistently. Boca Raton Police Department often receives calls from people confused as to how an unauthorized account was still obtained despite utilizing the fraud alert. Often times, the victim has allowed the 90 day initial alert to lapse. Criminals specializing in these types of crimes are aware of this possibility and retain the personal information past the 90 days just to try again in hopes the alert has lapsed.