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What to do if you are a victim of identity theft?

If you become a victim, report the incident immediately to the three big credit reporting agencies listed below. Ask them to immediately attach a “fraud alert” notification to your account. This is a free service and if everything goes as it should you will be notified whenever credit is applied for in your name.

You should also immediately notify the police, bank, credit card companies, credit agencies, the Federal Trade Commission, or The Department of the Solicitor General (Canada).

You’ll want to get an “ID theft report” from your local police department documenting that you are a victim of ID theft, fraudulent accounts and whatever other illegal actions were committed against you. Most local police forces will not investigate ID theft but every state gives you the right to obtain a victim’s report. The report will document the date you became aware of the theft. You can use the report to help clear your name with your financial institutions and any government agencies.

You should also mail a copy to all credit institutions you do business with because once they receive this report they can not turn your case over to a collection agency.

What to do if you are a victim of identity theft?

If a collection agency attempts to collect on a fraudulent account, explain (in writing) that you are a victim of Identity Theft, not responsible for the debt and send them a copy of your ID theft report. Ask them to confirm in writing that you do not owe the balance and that the “Account has been closed at Consumers Request.” You should also request all accounts affected by the fraud be permanently removed from your record.

Resources: United States

Equifax 1-800-525-6285

www.equifax.com

Experian 1-888-397-3742

www.experian.com

TransUnion 1-800-916-8800

www.transunion.com

Federal Trade Commission (Report stolen SSN here)

1-877-438-4338

www.consumer.gov/idtheft

Resources: Canada

Equifax Canada 1-800-465-7166

www.equifax.com/EFX Canada

TransUnion 1-877-525-3823

www.tuc.ca

PhoneBusters National Call Centre

Ontario Provincial Police Anti-Rackets

1-888-495-8501

www.phonebusters.com