Restore Your Identity
Restore Your Identity
The best protection against identity theft is prevention. Here's what you should do to stop theft of your personal information before it happens:
- Do not give out financial information such as checking and credit card numbers, or your Social Security number, unless you know the person or organization.
- Report lost or stolen checks immediately. We will block payment on them for you.
- Notify us of suspicious phone inquiries such as those asking for account information to verify a statement or award a prize.
- Closely guard your ATM Personal Identification Number (PIN) and ATM receipts.
- Shred any financial solicitations and bank statements before disposing of them.
- Put outgoing mail into a secure, official Postal Service collection box.
- If regular bills fail to reach you, call the company to find out why.
- If your bills include questionable items, don't ignore them. Instead, investigate immediately to head off any possible fraud.
- Run a credit report annually to review your file and make certain that the information is correct.
If you think your identity has been stolen, here's what to do:
Contact the fraud department of any one of the following three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The names and telephone numbers are:
- Equifax 1-800-525-6285
- Experian 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion 1-800-680-7289
- Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
- File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Get a copy of the report, or at the very least, the number of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.
- File your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov or the FTC Identity Theft hotline at (877)-438-4338. 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.
Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800)-908-4490, Ext. 245 right away so the IRS can take steps to secure your tax account. Also, fill out the IRS theft affidavit, Form 14039.
Other pertinent facts about identity theft:
- Credit reporting agencies must stop reporting allegedly fraudulent account information when you establish that you have been the victim of identity theft.
- Creditors or business must provide copies of business records or fraudulent accounts or transactions related to them. This information can assist you in proving that you are, in fact, a victim.
- You will be allowed to report accounts affected by identity theft directly to creditors - in addition to credit reporting agencies - to prevent the spread of erroneous information.