3. Victims of Identity Theft
b. Who to contact
Unfortunately, you’ll have to do a lot of the leg work in your identity theft investigation. There will be many agencies to contact and they’re all important.
Contact the police – Immediately call the police to file a report with your local law enforcement. If your identity was stolen when you were away from home, you may need to contact the police in that area, too.
Opening a police case accomplishes two things: First, the police can start investigating the crime. Second, you will need information from the police report to help you straighten out your credit and accounts after the crime. When you talk to the police, make sure you get the police report number and information on how to reach the investigator. Give this information to all the companies you contact in getting your credit cleared up after the crime. You can search for the nearest police department to you at www.usacops.com/co/.
It usually takes the police department a week to give you a police report and it costs a few dollars. Don’t forget to keep track on your checklist when you contacted the police, the officer‘s contact information and when you received the police report.
Contact the three credit bureaus – After you call the police, contact the credit bureaus. Contact the fraud departments at each of the three credit bureaus.
- Equifax (800) 525-6285
- Experian (888) 397-3742
- Trans Union (800) 680-7289
Get all three agencies to flag the accounts with a “fraud
alert.” Find out from each credit reporting agency how long the fraud
alert will remain on your report, and how to extend that time if needed. Ask that all creditors contact you at a phone number you provide to verify all future applications.
Add a “victim’s statement” to the report. Be sure to include your name, state the problem, and provide a telephone number where you can be reached.
Have each credit bureau send you a copy of your report. These reports will guide you in tracing where and when any fraud occurred to your accounts.
In a few months, order new copies of your reports to verify your corrections and changes, and to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred. Unfortunately, identity thieves often strike the same accounts again and again. Because of this, it is very important to continue to monitor your credit reports very closely for a while after the initial crime. Even with a “fraud alert,” thieves may still find ways to open new accounts. Ask the credit bureaus if they will supply you with free credit reports every few months.