QUICK RESPONSE GUIDE
If You Believe Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised
It’s important to protect your personal information, and to take certain steps quickly to minimize the potential damage from identity theft if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen:
- CLOSE compromised credit accounts immediately.
- CONTACT one of the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies – Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion – and place an initial fraud alert on your credit reports if someone steals your social security number (SSN).
- MONITOR your credit report. Keep in mind that fraudulent activity may not show up right away.
- CONSULT with your financial institution about handling the effects on bank or brokerage accounts.
- CONTACT relevant government agencies to cancel and replace any stolen drivers licenses or other identification documents, and to “flag” your file. File a report with the proper authorities.
- WATCH for signs of identity theft: late or missing bills, receiving credit cards that you didn’t apply for, being denied credit or offered less favorable terms for no apparent reason, or getting contacted by debt collectors or others about purchases you didn’t make.
TAKE CHARGE: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft is a publication from the Federal Trade Commission with detailed information regarding identity theft responses.
- Financial accounts: Close accounts, like credit cards and bank accounts, immediately. When you open new accounts, place passwords on them. Avoid using your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number (SSN) or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
- Social Security number: Call the toll-free fraud number of any of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies and place an initial fraud alert on your credit reports. An alert can help stop someone from opening new credit accounts in your name.
- Driver’s license/other government-issued identification: Contact the agency that issued the license or other identification document. Follow its procedures to cancel the document and to get a replacement. Ask the agency to flag your file so that no one else can get a license or any other identification document from them in your name.
Once you’ve taken these precautions, watch for signs that your information is being misused. If your information has been misused, file a report about the theft with the police, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, as well. If another crime was committed – for example, if your purse or wallet was stolen or your house or car was broken into – report it to the police immediately.
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 (800-685-1111 to Order Credit Report)
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742); www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013 (888-397-3742 to Order Credit Report)
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790 (800-916-8800 to Order Credit Report)
How to Report a Phishing Scam
If you’ve received spam that is phishing for information forward it to firstname.lastname@example.org – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the phishing email. You may also report phishing to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team at email@example.com or to The Anti-Phishing Working Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. The reported phishing emails help a consortium of ISPs, security vendors, financial institutions and law enforcement agencies fight phishing.
If you believe you’ve been scammed:
- File a report with the Federal Trade Commission complaint assistant.
- Report it to your state Attorney General, using contact information at naag.org.
- If you believe your identity has been stolen visit the FTC’s identity theft website at ftc.gov/idtheft. While you can’t completely control whether you will become a victim of identity theft, you can take some steps to minimize your risk.