Steps to Stop ID Theft

If you think your identity has been stolen, take these steps ASAP:

__ Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. (As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts.)

__ Once you have placed the alert, you can order a free copy of your credit report from all three major credit bureaus. The special toll-free numbers for the fraud departments are: Equifax (1-888-766-0008), Experian (1-888-397-3742), and Trans Union (1-800-680-7289).

__ Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.

__ File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.

__ File your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps the FTC learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that we can better assist you. Call toll-free 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).

The FTC also maintains the U.S. government's central Web site for information about identity theft.

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