Protecting Your Credit Following ID Theft: A Step-by-Step Plan of Action
|Pammila Phillis is a staff writer for
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Changes in the FCRA
(Fair Credit Reporting Act) regarding identity theft are presented here.
Further detailed information can be found at the Federal Trade Commission
site, http://www.ftc.gov/, under “Fair
Credit Reporting Act”. This is just a general step-by-step guide to start the
is very important to establish time of discovery and action.
relevant copies of documents relating to the case.
all creditors affected and properly identify them by their name, your
account number and amount involved.
copies of the police report. At
the very least get the file number.
persistent. Local authorities
may tell you they can't take a report.
If that is the case then try going to the county or state police.
If you're told that identity theft is not a crime under your state
law, then ask to file a “Miscellaneous Incident Report”.
is okay if you don't have everything needed at the time you are filling out the
report. You can follow up later
with additional information. Just
be sure to obtain an updated police report.
Contact Credit Reporting Agencies (CRA):
PO Box 9532
Allen TX, 75013
PO Box 740241
Fraud Victim Assistance Department
PO Box 6790
Call to activate a fraud alert.
You only need to call one agency, as they will notify the other two
agencies for you.
1. A credit report will be sent to
you along with a credit score.
will be opted out from creditors receiving your name for solicitation purposes
for a period of 5 years.
3. Follow up the dispute with the
4. Put your request in writing.
Mail it “Return Receipt Requested” and “Certified”.
Keep original copy for your
corresponding with the CRA
include the following:
of Social Security Card
of government-issued identification card
of police report or file number
copy of the FTC ID theft affidavit
and account number for each account disputed
of any relevant documentation involved with the ID theft case
statement that the information is not relating to any transaction by you,
For extended fraud alerts the CRA needs:
copy of a telephone bill showing both your home address and the telephone
number you want added to the credit report.
request for a victim statement to be added to your credit file.
The statement will say something like "Please verify identity
before extending credit. Victim
of ID Theft. Phone number is
This will remain on your
credit report for 7 years or until you write back requesting it to be canceled.
In addition, you are entitled to receive two free copies of your credit
report and score within the first 12 months.
The following is an excerpt from the Fair Credit Reporting Act on the FTC web
CRA shall block the reporting of any information in the file of a consumer that
the consumer identifies as information that resulted from an alleged identity
A CRA may decline to block, or may rescind any block, of information relating to
a consumer, if the CRA determines that:
information was blocked in error or a block was requested by the consumer in
information was blocked, based on a material misrepresentation of fact by
the consumer relevant to the request to block.
consumer obtained possession of goods, services, or money because of the
blocked transaction or transmission.”
If a block of information
is declined, the credit-reporting agency will be obligated to notify you within
5 business days that the blocked information has been added back to the credit
Regardless of the block in place, Federal, State, or local law enforcement
agencies will still have access to this information to complete their
Disclosures to consumers
A consumer can request that the first 5 digits of the social security number not
be included in the credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that if
“the CRA has received appropriate proof of the identity of the requester, the
CRA shall so truncate such number in such disclosure.”
Additional items of importance to do:
the Federal Trade Commission at
or visit their web site, http://www.ftc.gov/,
to report your fraud case.
their booklet titled “When Bad Things Happen To
Your Good Name”.
book contains the needed ID Theft Affidavit.
sure to read this book, there may be other relevant organizations you
will need to contact in connection to your identity theft case.
Creditors and Collection Agencies:
creditors immediately to close accounts connected with the identity theft.
existing accounts, request for a new account number, change pin number, and
the creditor that you wish to opt out from receiving solicitation by
telephone or mail from them or their affiliates unless it is law
for their specific address for disputing fraud.
Will need to send in
writing, “Return Receipt Requested” and “Certified” mail the following:
of Government-issued Identification Card.
of Police Report or file number.
copy of the FTC ID Theft Affidavit.
of any relevant information proving that such accounts appearing on credit
report do not belong to you.