Identity Theft: Quick Tips for Victims

SecurityTip: Take quick action if you think you are the victim of identity theft or fraud. Notify all the proper authorities and have a fraud alert placed on your credit file.

What Should You Do If Your Identity Is Stolen?

First and foremost, act quickly: take the actions described in the following steps:

  1. Keep detailed records of all communications regarding this incident including names, dates, and times. Send letters by certified mail and retain a copy.
  2. Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit reporting bureaus and have a fraud alert placed on your file. Obtain copies of your credit reports. Credit Card Bureaus:
    Credit Bureau Contact Information
    Credit BureauContact Information
    Equifax Credit Information ServicesConsumer Fraud Division
    PO Box 740256
    Atlanta, GA 30374
    ExperianNational Consumer Assistance
    PO Box 2002
    Allen, TX 75013
    TransUnionFraud Victim Assistance Department
    PO Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92834
  3. Check your credit reports. Call creditors for each bogus account listed on your credit report and instruct them to freeze the account immediately.
  4. File a report with the police department(s) in the jurisdiction where the crime(s) occurred, as well as with your local police department. Request copies of the police report(s).
  5. Mail copies of the police report(s) to the three credit bureaus listed above.
  6. Contact the Federal Trade Commission and file a complaint.
    Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Contact Information
    DescriptionContact Information
    Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Web site
    Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Hotline887-ID-THEFT, 887-438-4338
  7. Contact your bank and stop payment on any outstanding checks. Cancel your checking and/or savings account, and open new accounts. Report any fraud to check verification companies.
    Check Verification Companies
    CompanyContact Information
    Check Rite800-638-4600
    Chex Systems800-328-5121
  8. Check all your investments for irregular activity.
  9. Monitor your mail deliveries. It’s important to know the dates you normally receive credit card, bank, and investment statements so you can recognize when statements are late or missing. To report security investment or brokerage account tampering, contact the Securities and Exchange Commission.
    Securities and Exchange Commission Contact Information
    AddressPhone and FAX Numbers
    SEC Complaint Center
    450 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, D.C. 20549-0213
    Phone: 800-732-0330
    Fax: 202-942-9634
  10. If you suspect someone has changed your address or used the mail to commit identity theft, contact your local U.S. Postal Inspector and report the crime. Contact your local Postmaster to ensure your mail is sent to the correct address. Also, talk to your mail carrier to alert him or her of the problem. To locate your local U.S. Postal Service inspector, visit:
  11. Contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) if your Social Security Number (SSN) was used to commit identity theft. The Social Security Administration will change your SSN if you meet the agency’s fraud victim criteria. Regularly check your Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement.
    Social Security Administration Contact Information
    DescriptionContact Information
    Social Security Administration Fraud HotlinePhone: 800-269-0271
    Fax: 800-410-597-01118
    TTY: 866-501-2101
    Social Security Administration Fraud Hotlin AddressSSA Fraud Hotline
    PO Box 17768
    Baltimore, MD 21235
    Web site for ordering a Social Security Earnings and Benefits Statement
  12. If bankruptcy occurred fraudulently using your name, contact the U.S. Trustee in the region where the bankruptcy was filed at
  13. Check if criminal records or arrests occurred using your name.
  14. Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles if driver’s license or identification card fraud occurred in your name. Department of Motor Vehicles to report fraud: 866-658-5758
    California Department of Motor Vehicles Contact Information
    DescriptionContact Information
    General InformationPhone: 866-658-5758
    E-mail address for reporting
  15. Notify utilities and telephone companies so they can stop anyone ordering utilities in your name.
  16. Notify the U.S. Department of State, Passport Services Department, of your identity theft so they can intercept anyone ordering a new passport in your name. See for more information.
  17. If the fraud involved a business scam, contact the National Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060.

This information is intended as a quick reference guide in the event your identity is stolen. Accuracy and completeness may vary if the agency responsibilities or contact information listed above changes. Please visit the Web sites of the organizations mentioned in this article for the most up-to-date and comprehensive information about how to prevent and respond to identity theft. For information about how you can help prevent identity theft, read the How to Help Prevent Identity Theft security tip.