What Should I Do if Someone Steals and Uses My Social Security Number?
It is important to contact law enforcement, credit reporting agencies, the hospital, and other entities that may be involved, such as banks, Social Security, etc. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The fraud alert instructs creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. Some of the main recommended steps for a victim of identity theft are listed below. Please see the links to our identity theft packages below for further resources.
1. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Get a copy of the report or, at the very least, the number of the report, to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime. Provide as much documented evidence as possible and make sure the police report lists the fraudulent accounts. Make a note of the phone number of your investigator so you�ll be able to give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case.
2. File an identity theft complaint with the FTC. The FTC is a clearinghouse for identity theft information. They maintain a database of identity theft cases that they share with law enforcement agencies for investigations. The FTC can also refer complaints to other government agencies and companies to locate identity thieves. You may call the FTC identity theft hotline at 1-877-438-4338, use its online identity theft complaint form, www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or write: FTC Identity Theft Clearinghouse, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20580.
3. Create new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords for any new accounts you open. Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SSN or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
4. If the identity thief has made charges or debits on your accounts, or on fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the instructions to dispute those transactions. You should immediately close any accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit, available on the USLegalForms.com site, when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
5. If your own checks are rejected at stores where you shop, contact the check verification company that the merchant uses. The major ones are:
Fidelity National Information Services
For annual file disclosure
Fraud, id theft department
International Check Services
6. Contact your state�s Attorney General�s office for information about identity theft assistance and laws in your state.
7. Contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to determine if another license has been issued in your name. Ask the DMV what procedures exist to prevent misuse of your identification. Some states offer a fraud alert will prevent another person from getting a license or identification card in your name. You will need to provide identification and copies of the police report, bills and other documents as evidence of your fraud claim. You may need to change your driver�s license number if yours is being used as identification on bad checks or for other fraudulent reasons. Request that your social security number be removed from appearing on your license or that a substitute identification be used as your driver�s license number.
When you contact the various entities to dispute charges and prove your identity has been used fraudulently, it�s best to follow up phone calls with a dated written letter. Sending correspondence by certified mail with return receipt requested is preferred and always keep a copy of the letter you send. When sending dispute letters, include copies (NOT originals) of your police report or other documents that support your position.