If you notice fraudulent activity on your account(s), here is a step-by-step guide from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC):
Step 1: Call the company or companies where you know fraud occurred.
- Call their fraud department and explain that you believe someone stole your identity. Ask them to close or freeze your account(s). By doing this, you ensure that no one can add new charges without your permission.
- Immediately change logins, passwords, and PINS for your accounts.
Step 2: Place a fraud alert and get your credit reports.
- Place a free, one-year fraud alert on your account(s) by contacting one of the three credit bureaus. The bureau you contact must tell the other two. You'll get a letter from each credit bureau confirming that they placed a fraud alert on your name.
- A fraud alert is free to place and will make it much harder for someone to open new accounts in your name. When you have an alert on your report, a business must first verify your identity before it can issue new credit in your name.
- To access your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, visit annualcreditreport.comor call 1.877.322.8228.
- Did you already order your free annual reports this year? If so, you can pay to access your report immediately.
- If you do not require immediate access, simply follow the instructions found in the fraud alert confirmation letter from each credit bureau to access your free report.
- Review your reports and make note of any unusual account or transaction activity. This will help you report the theft to the FTC and the police.
Step 3: Report identity theft to the FTC.
- Complete the online form or call 1.877.438.4338. Include as many details as possible.
Based on the information you enter, IdentityTheft.gov will create your Identity Theft Report and recovery plan. Your identity theft report proves to businesses that someone stole your identity. It also guarantees you certain rights.
To learn more about IdentityTheft.gov click here to watch a short video.