The Steps For Reporting Identity Theft
Here you'll learn how to go about reporting identity theft in any country
. However, I've shown specific agency contacts for the US and the UK only.
This is what we'll cover...
- How To Tell If We're A Victim
- Personal Information Lost Or Stolen?
- The Process Of Reporting ID Theft
- More Information About Identity Theft
1. Reporting Identity Theft... How To Tell If We're A Victim
- Are bills or other mail not being delivered? A missing bill could mean an identity thief has taken over our account.
- Another sign is getting calls or letters from debt collectors or businesses about merchandise or services we didn't buy.
- Similarly, being denied credit or being offered less favorable credit terms for no apparent reason needs to be questioned.
- By checking our credit report we can find whether there are any signs of unusual activity, which could confirm our suspicions from the previous points.
We should look for inquiries from companies we haven't contacted, accounts we haven't opened and debts on our accounts that shouldn't be there. Also check that personal information is correct.
In the US, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion are the three major credit reporting agencies.
A new federal law entitles citizens to a FREE credit report once a year. To receive your copy, visit Annual Credit Report.
In the UK, the credit reference agencies are...
- Call Credit
Credit reports can be ordered online.
2. Reporting Identity Theft... Personal Information Lost Or Stolen?
If we've lost personal information or identification, or if it has been stolen from us, taking certain steps quickly can minimize the potential for id theft...
- Report all stolen cheques or credit cards to the issuers and request new ones. Follow up telephone calls with written notification. Obtain new cards and account numbers with new passwords and Personal Identification Numbers (PINs).
- With government issued identification, reporting identity theft, such as for a stolen driving license or passport, is via the agency that issued the license or other identification document. Ask for the procedures to cancel the document and to obtain a replacement.
In the UK, lost or stolen passports should be reported to the Passport Office and driving licences to the DVLA.
- Report the incident to the police, especially if it involves stolen identification documents... and ask for a crime reference number, or documentation to record the incident.
Nothing may result, but you may be required to produce this information if you later have to prove you are a victim of identity theft.
3. The Process Of Reporting Identity Theft
If we think we have become a victim, reporting identity theft, following these steps, will help us repair our credit rating. Remember to keep a record of contact with all third parties and copies of all correspondence.
- Place an initial fraud alert on our credit reports. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in our name.
In the US, we only need to contact one of the three credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. The company we contact is required to notify the other two. The bureaus contact details are,
- www.equifax.com: 1-800-525-6285
- www.experian.com: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
- www.transunion.com: 1-800-680-7289
- Once the fraud alert is on our file, we're entitled to free copies of our credit reports.
We should look for inquiries from companies we haven't contacted, debts that we are unaware of and new accounts that we haven't opened. Any information that is inaccurate must be removed.
In the UK, reporting identity theft to the credit reference agencies is similar to that in the US. We should request that a fraud alert be added to our credit file to state we have been the victim of identity theft. The three agencies are listed above under "How To Tell If We're A Victim".
UK residents should also consider registering with the CIFAS Protective Registration Service. CIFAS Protective Registration may be placed by individuals against their own address when they have good reason to believe it may be used by a fraudster.
The major lenders in the UK consumer credit industry established CIFAS, the UK's Fraud Prevention Service. CIFAS is a non profit membership association solely dedicated to the prevention of financial crime.
- Reporting identity theft to the organizations involved is also an immediate step. Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing and keep a record of all communications and the names of the people spoken to.
- If the identity thief has made charges to or debits from our accounts or fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute those transactions
- Ensure the organizations remove any information about the fraudulent account from our credit reports. Close the accounts that we know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently so that we can guard privacy for the future.
- Finally, in the US, when reporting identity theft, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
According to the FTC, this will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC can refer victims' complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violations of laws the agency enforces.
The FTC has really useful information on what to do if you are a victim of identity theft and how to report it at, FTC: Reporting Identity Theft. Alternatively, we can write:
Identity Theft Clearinghouse,
Federal Trade Commission,
600 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW, Washington, DC 20580.
4. Reporting Identity Theft... More Information About Identity Theft