IDENTITY THEFT VICTIM GUIDE
As soon as you become aware your personal information has been stolen and/or used by someone else, you should act quickly and follow the steps outlined below. Be sure to keep a record of the details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.
- Place fraud alerts on your credit reports
- Report the fraud to the police
- File a complaint with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office
- File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
- Review your consumer rights
- Conduct follow up steps
- Utilize sample letters
PLACE FRAUD ALERTS ON YOUR CREDIT REPORTS
Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from doing further damage to your credit. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three agencies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report. Ask the company that you contact to confirm this action. Credit reports from all three consumer reporting companies should be sent to you free of charge.
TransUnion: 1.800.680.7289; http://www.transunion.com/; Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016-2000
Equifax: 1.800.525.6285; http://www.equifax.com/; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Experian: 1.888.EXPERIAN (397.3742); http://www.experian.com/; P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
CONTACT YOUR BANK FOR ASSISTANCE WITH FRAUDULENT ACCOUNTS OR CHARGES
Your banks and financial institutions may be able to assist you in securing your accounts from being accessed by identity thieves. Asking your bank to close your existing account, open a different account, or place a security lock may all be ways to assist with recovery after identity theft-related damages. For further guidance and ways to help, visit https://www.identitytheft.gov/#/Steps for more information.
PLACE A FREEZE ON YOUR CREDIT REPORTS
A credit freeze, also known as a security freeze, is a consumer right provided by Indiana law. Placing a security freeze on your credit reports can block an identity thief from opening a new account or obtaining credit in your name. A credit freeze keeps new creditors from accessing your credit report without your permission. If you activate a credit freeze, an identity thief cannot take out new credit in your name, even if the thief has your Social Security number or other personal information, because creditors cannot access your credit report. Visit https://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/consumer-protection-division/id-theft-prevention/protect/credit-freeze/ for more information.
REPORT THE FRAUD TO YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
Indiana law requires the law enforcement agency where you live to take an official report and provide you with a copy. When you file the report, provide as much documentation as possible, including copies of debt collection letters, credit reports, and your notarized Identity Theft Affidavit. The police report and complaint number may be needed when contacting creditors. Consumer reporting companies should automatically block fraudulent accounts and bad debts from appearing on your credit report if you provide a copy of the police report.
FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S IDENTITY THEFT UNIT
The Identity Theft Unit provides assistance to identity theft victims and investigative services to help with the prosecution of identity thieves. When filing a complaint, please be sure to include legible copies of any correspondence you have received regarding this matter; copies of the police report that you have filed regarding this matter; copies of any fraudulent entries on your credit report/bank statements; and any other applicable paperwork. Click here for complaint forms. For additional assistance, you may contact the Identity Theft Unit at 1.800.382.5516 or IDTheft@atg.in.gov.
FILE A COMPLAINT WITH THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
The FTC maintains a confidential, national identity theft database and may also be able to assist in pursuing identity thieves through federal channels, if applicable. You can file a complaint online at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by phone at 1.877.ID.THEFT.
REVIEW YOUR CONSUMER RIGHTS
Victims are also encouraged to review their rights provided by state and federal law. Understanding your rights can help you recover from an identity theft crime.
FOLLOW UP STEPS
Once you receive your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Ensure information, like your SSN, address(es), name or initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed. See Correcting Fraudulent Information in Credit Reports on the Federal Trade Commissions’ (FTC) site to learn more.
When you correct your credit report, use an Identity Theft Report with a cover letter explaining your request, to get the fastest and most complete results (materials provided by the FTC).
Continue to check your credit reports periodically, especially for the first year after you discover the identity theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred.
SAMPLE LETTERS AND FORMS
For a list of sample letters and forms you may use to exercise your rights as an identity theft victim, please click here.