If you are a victim of identity theft, place a fraud alert on your credit reports and review your reports periodically. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free number of any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You need to contact only one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to inform the other two, which will then also place an alert on their versions of your credit report.
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com
Fraud Victim Assistance Division, PO Box 6790, Fullerton CA 92834-6790
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com
PO Box 740241, Atlanta GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com
PO Box 9554, Allen TX 75013-9554
Once you place the fraud alert on your file, you are entitled to order free copies of your credit reports. If you ask, only the last four digits of your Social Security Number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you have not contacted; accounts you did not open; and debts on your accounts that you cannot explain. Check that information like your Social Security Number, address(es) and name or initials are correct.
If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed. See the Federal Trade Commission’s comprehensive identity theft recovery guide, Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft, at www.ftc.gov/idtheft to learn how. Continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.