What to Do if You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

What to do if you're a Victim of Identity Theft

Identity Theft

If you are a victim of identity theft, you need to contact each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion) and let them know that you were a victim.

Your letter should state that you were an identity theft victim and wish to dispute certain information in your credit file. You should circle the disputed items in your credit report, and attach any supporting documents (such as an identity theft report).

Your letter should direct the agency to remove or correct the indicated information, and list the name of the fraudulent account, judgment or other item.

For example, the language might read: “I dispute Macy’s credit card account number XXXXXXXX on my credit report because this account was never opened by me. I hereby request that the item be removed”.

You should request that the credit reporting company investigate and correct the disputed item as soon as possible.

Here is a sample letter to send to each of the credit reporting agencies: identity theft letter

The credit reporting company is legally required to investigate the disputed items, and forward the information to the business that originally reported the fraudulent information to the credit reporting company.

You should also try to obtain copies of any of the documents the identity thief used to open the fraudulent account or make charges in your name, such as a copy of a credit card application with the applicant’s signature. You can contact the business where the account was opened and request copies of any documents used to open that account, or authorize law enforcement authorities to obtain that information on your behalf. You must include a copy of your identity theft report or any other proof that the business requires, including appropriate identifying information.

Make sure that you keep a careful record of the dates of your telephone calls and letters, as there are strict requirements for how long the credit reporting agencies and businesses have to respond to your inquiries and to clean up items in your credit file.

For more information on what to do if you’re a victim of identity theft, go to Repairing Your Credit After identity Theft.

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