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Identity theft checklist: What to do if your identity is stolen

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In the unfortunate event that you are a victim of identity theft, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure where to start. Use the checklist below to ensure damage to your bank account stays minimal. 

  1. Contact the fraud division of the three major credit reporting agencies. The agencies will provide free copies of credit reports to victims to review and dispute any content.
  2. Request a "fraud alert." This alert will warn lenders to be especially careful in authenticating the identity of anyone claiming to be you, and to contact you before processing any request for credit. or call 877-576-5734 or call 888-397-3742 or call 800-680-7289 or call 800-540-2505
  3. Contact each credit grantor who has allowed a fraudulent account. The grantor should close the account and provide written verification that it will be removed from your credit file. If you open new accounts, a unique password should be established for identification purposes.
  4. Contact your financial institution's fraud department. Make them aware of the incident.
  5. File a report with your local police department. Be sure to get the report number and a copy of the report. Credit card companies, financial institutions and credit reporting agencies might require you to show a copy of a police report to support your claim that a crime was committed.
  6. Report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission on or call the Identity Theft Toll-Free Hotline at 877-IDTHEFT (877-438-4338). This is the central point of contact within the federal government for reporting incidents of identity theft.
  7. Call the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General's Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271 or visit them online at  Social Security Administration if you know or suspect your social security number has been compromised.
  8. Visit the IRS  Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft if you know or suspect you are a victim of tax-related identity theft to determine if you need to complete an Identity Theft Affidavit.
  9. Keep a log of all conversations and steps taken. It is extremely important to document all contact names, dates, times and phone numbers.
  10. Keep track of expenses for any mailings, stamps, certified mail or other costs associated with restoring your identity.
  11. Send correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested. The number one excuse used by companies to deny any responsibility is, "We never received it."