Someone Stole My Credit or Identity

Someone Stole My Credit or Identity

Last updated: February 2008

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Financial identity theft is a crime that occurs when someone uses your personal information without your permission to:Spend your moneyGet credit in your name Take out loans in your name They may use your credit card, cash a check made out to you or from your checking account, or get a credit card or loan in your name.Without stealing your wallet, someone can steal your financial identity with as little information as your social security number. Click on words that appear like 'this' to learn what these words mean.What kind of information is used in identity theft? People who commit financial identity theft may use your Social Security number, driver's license number, state identification number, credit report, credit card numbers, and other private personal information to commit financial identity theft.How can a person get personal information about me? One of the most common ways for a criminal to get personal information about you is by stealing a "preapproved" credit card offer sent to you in the mail and then opening an account in your name. If you think this may have happened, or if you think any other mail was stolen, call the United States Postal Inspector at 877-876-2455 and report the crime. Also call and send a letter to the credit card company or bank where the person opened an account in your name. Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to get a letter that you can send.What should I do if I think someone has stolen my identity? You should report the theft to the police. The best place to start is with your local police department. Go to your local police station and report the crime. Some police departments do not like to get involved in financial identity theft crimes. If the police officer you talk to does not want to file a written report, tell the officer that you know identity theft is a crime under Illinois law. Be polite, but insist that a report be written. If the officer still will not file a report, ask to speak to their boss.Make sure you get a copy of the police report after it is written. If the police arrest someone or investigate your case further, help them as much as you can.Should I report the crime to any other police department? After you report the crime to your local police office, you should also report it to the United States Secret Service, especially if it involved a lot of money. The Secret Service prosecutes criminals who break the federal identity theft and other financial fraud laws. Unfortunately, they do not have the resources to follow through on all cases and usually will only go after criminals who steal large amounts of money or who are part of an organized identity theft ring. To reach the Chicago office of the Secret Service call (312) 353-5431, and to reach the Springfield office call (217) 726-8453.What should I do after I have reported the crime to the police departments? You need to call any companies or agencies that have access to any of your personal information or financial information. Make sure to call:Any companies you have credit cards with Any creditors (people or companies you owe money to) Any banks you have accounts with The 3 major credit reporting agencies The department of motor vehicles for the state that issued your driver's license or state identification card, and The Social Security AdministrationIt is very important that you follow up with everybody you talk to on the phone. For each telephone call you make write a letter to the company or agency and insist that they send a letter to you summarizing the conversation. Keep a copy of every letter you send and receive. Send all letters by certified mail with a return receipt (the green postcard) so you have proof the letter was received.What should I tell my credit card companies and creditors? Tell them that you are the victim of identity theft and ask them to note this in your file. Go over all recent activity in your account to check see if there has been any illegal activity. You should also ask the credit card companies to give you new cards with new card numbers. Check your mail for any bills from credit card companies or other creditors that you do not recognize. A criminal may apply for credit cards or loans in your name and the only way you'll find out is by getting a bill in the mail. If you do get a bill that you don't recognize, call the company right away. Tell them that you are the victim of identity theft and that the charges or loans were not approved by you. Offer to send them a copy of the police report. Send them a letter confirming your phone conversation with them. Make sure to include the date, the name of the person you spoke to, and a summary of the conversation. Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to fill out a letter that you can send. The company may ask you to fill out a "fraud affidavit" stating that you did not approve of the charges. Follow any of their requests like this. Demand that the creditor give you a written statement which says that you are not responsible for the charges that the criminal made to an account or a loan taken out by the criminal.What should I tell my bank? Call every bank where you have an account. Ask to speak with the fraud department or an officer of the bank. Tell them you are the victim of identity theft. Go over recent activity in your account to make sure that it was all done or approved by you. If you have an ATM card, cancel it and ask for a new one. Some banks may want you to close your account and open a new one with a different number.What should I tell the credit reporting agencies? You must call all 3 credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union). Tell each of them you are the victim of identity theft. Ask that your credit file be flagged with a fraud alert. Tell them to add a victim's statement to your report. The victim's statement should say: "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at [your phone number] to approve all applications."As a victim of identity theft you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report. Ask each agency to send it to you, and ask them to confirm in writing that the fraud alert and victim statement have been placed in your file. After you call all 3 agencies, write them letters to confirm your conversations. Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to get a letter that you can send. Go to the "Related Articles" section to find addresses of the credit reporting agencies.What should I do if the identity theft involves my driver's license, traffic tickets, parking tickets, or the title to a car? Call the Secretary of State Police. They investigate crimes related to the title of your car, your driver's license, parking tickets and traffic tickets. Because they handle such limited cases, they often will investigate matters other police do not have time for. The phone number for the Secretary of State Police is (217) 782-7126.What if someone uses my name while committing a crime? If someone commits a crime in your name you could end up with a criminal record. The process for clearing a criminal record is different from the process explained in this guide for dealing with financial identity theft. Go to the "Related Articles" section to get information on criminal identity theft.What if someone has used my Social Security number? If you believe someone has used your Social Security number, contact the local Social Security Administration office at (312) 575-4000 or (800) 772-1213 and make a report and ask if you qualify for a new Social Security number. Also, ask for a copy of your "personal earnings statement" so you can review it to see if it is correct.Should I report identity theft to the U.S. Passport Agency? Yes. If you have a passport, whether or not it was actually stolen, you should report identity theft to the U.S. Passport Agency at (312) 341-6020.Even if you do not have a passport you should report the identity theft to the U.S. Passport Agency to stop anyone else from applying for a passport in your name. Will my homeowner's or renter's insurance cover any losses that I suffered? Maybe. Check with your insurance company. Some policies provide insurance coverage for fraud or identity theft. Notify the company in writing of the identity theft. Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to view a sample letter.Should I tell my employer about the identity theft? Yes. You should notify your employer especially if you work for a company that may do background checks on you, such as a bank or government agency. Check with your personnel or human resources department to see if they perform background checks on you.Are there any things I should not do? Don't give in! Do not pay any bill or part of a bill that is the result of identity theft. Do not cover any checks that were written or cashed as a result of the identity theft. Do not file bankruptcy. Your credit rating should not be permanently affected as a result of the identity theft.Also, no legal action should be taken against you. If any store, company, credit card company, collection agency, bank, or anyone else suggests they will take legal action against you, explain the situation and report it to the Illinois Attorney General at (866) 999-5630. Do not let yourself be forced or tricked into paying the bills.If Your Mail was Stolen and an Account was Opened in Your Name Report the crime to the United States Postal Inspector at (877) 876-2455;Call the credit card company or bank where the fraudulent account was opened;Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to get a letter you can send to the credit card company or bank where the fraudulent account was opened.Report the Crime to Your Local Police Department Report the theft to your local police department;If the officer you speak to does not want to file a written report, be polite but insist that a report be written. Tell them that you know identity theft is a crime under Illinois law;If the officer still will not file a report ask to speak to their boss; Get a copy of the police report;Cooperate with the police as much as possible.Report the Crime to the Secret Service Report the crime to the United States Secret Service office in Chicago at (312) 353-5431 or Springfield at (217) 726-8453.Contact Companies that Have Your Personal or Financial Information For each telephone call you make write a letter to the company or agency and insist that they send a letter to you summarizing the conversation;Keep a copy of every letter you send and receive;Send all letters by certified mail with a return receipt (the green postcard) so you have proof the letter was received;Keep records of your conversations, including the dates and times of the calls and the names of the people you talk to about your identity theft;Use the form "Reporting Record for Identity Theft: Chart Your Course of Action" in the "Forms/Letters" section to keep track of the steps you've taken to report your identity theft.The companies that you should contact are listed in detail in the following steps.Contact Your Credit Card Companies and Creditors Tell your credit card companies and creditors that you are the victim of identity theft and ask them to note this in your file;Go over all recent activity in your account with them to see if there is any illegal activity;Ask the credit card companies to give you new cards with new card numbers.Contact Your Banks Call every bank where you have an account;Ask to speak with the fraud department or an officer of the bank;Go over recent activity in your account to make sure it was all done or approved by you;If you have an ATM card, cancel it and ask for a new one;You may be asked to close your account and open a new one with a different number.Contact all 3 Credit Reporting Agencies You must call all 3 credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion);Ask that your credit file be flagged with a fraud alert;Tell them to add a victim's statement to your report that says: "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at [your phone number] to approve all applications.";Ask each agency to send you a free copy of your credit report;Ask each agency to confirm in writing that the fraud alert and victim's statement have been placed in your file;After you call all 3 agencies, write them letters to confirm your conversations.Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to send a letter to the credit reporting agencies. Go to the "Related Articles" section to find addresses of the credit reporting agencies.Notify Your Employer of Your Identity Theft Tell your employer about your identity theft, especially if you work for a company that may do background checks on you, such as a bank or government agency.If the Identity Theft Involves Your Driver's License, Traffic or Parking Tickets or Car Title Call the Secretary of State Police at (217) 782-7126.If Someone Used Your Social Security Number Call the local Social Security Administration office at (312) 575-4000 or (800) 772-1213;Make a report and ask if you qualify for a new Social Security number;Ask for a copy of your "personal earnings statement" so you can review it to see if it is correct.Report the Identity Theft to the U.S. Passport Agency Even if your passport was not stolen, you should report identity theft to the U.S. Passport Agency at (312) 341-6020;Even if you do not have a passport, you should report identity theft to the U.S. Passport Agency to stop someone else from applying for a passport in your name.Check the Mail for Bills that You Don't Recognize If you receive such a bill, call the creditor right away;Tell the creditor you are the victim of identity theft and that the charges or loan were not approved by you;Offer to send them a copy of the police report;Send them a letter confirming your phone conversation with them. You can get a letter to send in the "Forms/Letters" section of this guide;The company may ask you to fill out a "fraud affidavit" stating that you did not approve of the charges. Follow any requests like this;Demand that the creditor give you a written statement which states that you are not responsible for the charges that the criminal made to an account or a loan taken out by the criminal.Do Not Make Payments that Result from Your Identity Theft Do not pay any bill or part of a bill that is the result of identity theft;Do not cover any checks that were written and/or cashed as a result of identity theft;Do not file for bankruptcy;If anyone suggests they will take legal action against you, restate your willingness to cooperate and report this to the Illinois Attorney General at (866) 999-5630;Do not allow yourself to be forced or tricked into paying the bills.See if Your Insurance Company Covers Identity Theft Loses If you have homeowner's or renter's insurance, call your insurance company to see if your policy covers fraud or identity theft;Notify the company in writing of your identity theft;Go to the "Forms/Letters" section to send a letter to your insurance company.

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