What Are Identity Theft and Identity Fraud?
Identity theft and identity fraud are terms used to refer to all types of crime in which someone wrongfully obtains and uses another person's personal data in some way that involves fraud or deception, typically for economic gain.
What Can You Do If You've Become a Victim of Identity Theft?
Call the companies where you know the fraud occurred:
- Call the fraud department. Explain that someone stole your identity. Ask them to close or freeze the accounts. Then, no one can add new charges unless you agree.
- Change logins, passwords, and PINs for your accounts.
Place a fraud alert and get your credit reports:
- To place a fraud alert, contact one of the three credit bureaus. That company must tell the other two.
- A fraud alert is free. It will make it harder for someone to open new accounts in your name.
- Get your free credit reports from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Go to annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228.
- Review your reports. Make note of any account or transaction you don’t recognize. This will help you report the theft to the FTC and the police.
Report identity theft to the FTC:
- Go to IdentityTheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338. Include as many details as possible.
- Based on the information you enter, IdentityTheft.gov will create your Identity Theft Report and personal recovery plan.
For more information visit the United States Department of Justice Website or the FTC