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How can someone steal your identity? Identity
theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name,
Social Security number, credit card number or other identifying information,
without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes.
Identity theft is a serious crime. People whose identities
have been stolen can spend months or years - and their hard-earned money -
cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their good name and credit record.
In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, be refused loans, education,
housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn't commit.
If you think your identity has been stolen, here's what to
Contact the fraud departments of any one of the
three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file.
The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any
new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon
as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit
bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all
three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge.
Close the accounts that you know or believe have
been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID
Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.
File a police report. Get a copy of the report
to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the
your complaint with the FTC. The
FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement
agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps us learn
more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that
we can better assist you.
For more in-depth information on recovering from identity
theft and help with specific problems, read ID Theft:
When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name.
NEW! - IRS Reissues
Consumer Warning on Identity Theft Scheme: Scheme Now
For more information about Identity
theft please visit the
Trade Commission's Consumer Information Website.