ID Theft Actions (After Theft)
Important phone #'s at end
We've all heard horror stories about fraud that's committed using your name, address, SS#, credit, etc. Unfortunately I (author of this piece) have firsthand knowledge, because my wallet was stolen last month and within a week the thieves ordered an expensive monthly cell phone package, applied for a VISA credit card, had a credit line approved to buy a Gateway computer, received a PIN number from DMV to change my driving record information online, and more. But here's some critical information to limit the damage in case this happens to you or someone you know. As everyone always advises, cancel your credit cards immediately, but the key is having the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know who to call. Keep those where you can find them easily (having to hunt for them is additional stress you WON'T need at that point!). I remember losing a MC and until I got the toll free number from information, etc. I was a wreck. File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where it was stolen, this proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation (if there ever is one). But here's what is perhaps most important: I never ever thought to do this.
Call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and SS#. I had never heard of doing that until advised by a bank that called to tell me an application for credit was made over the Internet in my name. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. By the time I was advised to do this - almost 2 weeks after the theft all the damage had been done (there are records of all the credit checks initiated by the thieves' purchases, none of which I knew about before placing the alert). Since then, no additional damage has been done, and the thieves threw my wallet away this weekend (someone turned it in). It seems to have stopped them in their tracks. The numbers are:
Equifax 1-800 525-6285
Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195
Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration also has a fraud line at 1-800-269-0271
ACTIVITY JOURNAL IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER:
A COMPUTER IF AVAILABLE, TO SIMPLIFY UPDATING.
WITH FIRST INCIDENT OF FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY.
DATES, TIMES, LOCATIONS, PERSONS IN CONTACT WITH, ADDRESSES, PHONE NUMBERS AND
THE GIST OF CONVERSATION.
POLICE AGENCY NAME, FILE NUMBER, DATE / TIME REPORTED.
COPIES OF ALL DOCUMENTS RECEIVED OR RELEASED.
PREPARE A COVER
BE USED FOR WRITTEN CONTACT WITH POLICE, MERCHANTS, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS,
COLLECTION AGENCIES ETC.
TRUE PERSON IDENTITY.
PHOTO(S) ON DOCUMENT SUCH AS DRIVERíS LICENSE, EMPLOYMENT ID/PHOTO.
CIRCUMSTANCES OF THEFT OF IDENTIFICATION.
PREPARE A MASTER
BE USED FOR PROMPT REPLY TO INQUIRY BY MERCHANTS, COLLECTION AGENCIES,
FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, POLICE ETC.
WHAT WAS STOLEN.
AGENCY NAME, FILE NUMBER, DATE AND TIME THEFT REPORTED.
SPACE TO RESPOND TO THE FRAUDULENT DOCUMENT IN QUESTION.
THE REASONS WHY TRUE PERSON NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY.
FILING FRAUDULENT DOCUMENT REPORT WITH LOCAL POLICE AGENCY.
BE USED WHEN NOTIFYING ENTITIES OR INDIVIDUALS OF FRAUDULENT USE OF TRUE
WITH COPY OF JOURNAL THAT IS BROUGHT CURRENT.
CREDIT BUREAUS AND PLACE FRAUD ALERT ON CREDIT HISTORY.
AND CHEX-SYSTEMS TO IDENTIFY OTHER NEGATIVE ACTIVITY IF ON FILE.
LICENSE BUREAUS TO DETERMINE IF DRIVERíS LICENSE HAS BEEN COMPROMISED WITH
CHANGE OF ADDRESS AND PHOTO.
IMPERSONATION TO LAW ENFORCEMENT:
A THEFT REPORT IS ALREADY ON FILE, THE COVER LETTER AND COPY OF JOURNAL SHOULD
BE SUBMITTED AND INCLUDED WITH ORIGINAL POLICE REPORT OF THEFT.
THERE IS NO KNOWN THEFT OF IDENTIFICATION, REPORT INFORMATION TO THE LOCAL
POLICE AGENCY IN WHICH TRUE PERSON RESIDES.
JOURNAL WITH POLICE AGENCY NAME, FILE NUMBER, DATE, TIME AND NAME OF OFFICER /
DETECTIVE REPORT FILED WITH.
REPORT IS TO ASSIST LAW ENFORCEMENT INVESTIGATION IF FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY IS
LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCY IS RELUCTANT TO TAKE A REPORT, CONTACT DETECTIVE
RESPONSIBLE FOR FORGERY AND FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS.
UNABLE TO FILE REPORT WITH POLICE, INCLUDE THE INFORMATION IN JOURNAL.
PERSON SHOULD BE AWARE THAT RESOLVING THE ISSUE OF IMPERSONATION MIGHT REQUIRE
PERSEVERANCE. IT IS VERY
IMPORTANT TO DOCUMENT ALL ACTIVITY SO THAT IF REQUIRED TO REPLY TO AN INQUIRY,
THE NECESSARY INFORMATION IS READILY AVAILABLE AND CURRENT.
AN INQUIRER CAN BE REFERRED TO OTHERS THAT HAVE MUTUAL INTERESTS
IDENTIFYING THE IMPERSONATOR TO AVOID FURTHER POTENTIAL LOSSES.
THE INCLUSION OF ONE OR MORE PHOTOS WITH THE COVER LETTER OR MASTER
LETTER MAY FURTHER CLARIFY THAT AN IMPERSONATION HAS TAKEN PLACE.
THE DISSEMINATION OF THIS INFORMATION SHOULD BE MADE WITH CAUTION AND
DIRECTED TO ONLY THOSE THAT HAVE A NEED.
THE TRUE PERSON MAY WISH TO LATER INQUIRE WITH THE CREDIT BUREAUS TO
DETERMINE IF ADDITIONAL IMPERSONATION HAS TAKEN PLACE.
INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED ON THE INTERNET BY USING A SEARCH ENGINE FOR
IDENTITY+THEFT OR IDENTITY+FRAUD.
FOLLOWING WEBSITES ALSO HAVE INFORMATION RELATIVE TO IDENTITY THEFT INCLUDING
(See links to other sites)