Dear Consumer, What's in this packet: Identity Theft Victim Checklist Identity Theft Victim Worksheet Sample Letters

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1 Dear Consumer, Sometimes an identity thief can strike even if you ve been very careful about protecting your personal information. If you suspect that your personal information has been stolen and used to commit fraud or theft, take action immediately to minimize the damage to your personal funds and financial accounts, as well as your reputation. The checklist, sample letters, and other information contained in this packet is a guide to help victims of identity theft. For more information, the following websites are good resources on identity theft: Federal Trade Commission - Identity Theft Resource Center - Privacy Rights Clearinghouse - Social Security Online - What's in this packet: Identity Theft Victim Checklist Identity Theft Victim Worksheet Sample Letters PO Box 2900 Honolulu, HI Tel boh.com

2 Identity Theft Victim Checklist When dealing with law enforcement, financial institutions, and other creditors, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, names, and phone numbers. Confirm conversations in writing and send correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep the originals of supporting documentation, like police reports, and letters to and from creditors; send copies only. Use the contact logs included in this packet to keep a record of all your contacts. Also, note time spent and expenses incurred in case you are able to seek restitution in a later judgment or conviction against the thief, or if you itemize tax deductions for theft-related expenses (consult your accountant). Report the fraud to the major credit bureaus Summary: Call the toll-free fraud number of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified to place fraud alerts on your credit report, and all three reports will be sent to you free of charge. Immediately report the situation to the credit bureau: Equifax Phone: Address: Consumer Fraud Division P.O. Box Atlanta, GA Internet: Experian Phone: EXPERIAN ( ) Address: P.O. Box 2002 Allen, TX Internet: TransUnion Phone: Address: Fraud Victim Assistance Dept. P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA Internet: Ask that your file be flagged with a "fraud alert". This can help prevent an identity thief from opening additional accounts in your name. As of April 2003, if you notify one bureau that you are a victim of identity theft, it will notify the other two for you. Fraud alerts are usually placed for days but you will want to extend the time period to seven years. Do so in writing following the directions sent in the credit report you receive. Be sure to save all credit reports as part of your fraud documentation. Also ask the credit bureau to add a victim's statement to your credit report. For example: "My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at [your phone number] to verify all applications."

3 Ask for a free copy of your credit report. As a victim of identity theft, you have the right to a free report from each credit bureau. Report the crime to the police Summary: File a report with the police department and keep a copy of the report. If you can t get a copy, at least get the report number. Report the crime to your local police department. You might also need to report it to police departments where the crime occurred. Give them as much documented evidence as possible and give them any new evidence you collect to add to your report. Make sure the police report lists the fraud accounts. Some police departments don t write reports on such crimes, so be persistent! Be sure you get a copy of your police report. Credit card companies and banks may require you to show the report in order to verify the crime. Keep the phone number of your investigator handy and give it to creditors and others who require verification of your case. Call creditors Summary: Close any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Request information on fraudulent accounts and all transactions. Call all creditors for any accounts that the thief opened or used. When you call, ask for the security or fraud department. Creditors can be banks, credit card companies and other lenders, phone companies, ISPs, and department stores. Tell them you are an identity theft victim. If there are fraudulent charges or debits, ask them not to hold you responsible for charges made by the thief. Ask them to close those accounts and to report them to credit bureaus as closed at consumer s request. If you open new accounts, have them set up to require a password or PIN to approve use. Don t use your mother s maiden name or the last four numbers of your Social Security number as your password. Ask the credit grantors to furnish you and your investigating law enforcement agency copies of the documentation such as the application and transaction records, showing the fraudulent transactions. Under Federal law (15 U.S.C. 1681g, found at 609 (e) in FCRA - victims of identity theft can legally gain access to records from a business that relate to fraud based on identity theft (i.e. applications for credit, copies of checks, sales receipts, and other records). A victim of identity theft must provide a copy of the FTC affidavit (or other affidavit acceptable to the business), government-issued identification, and a copy of a police report. The business must provide copies of these records to the victim within 30 days of the victim s request at no charge.

4 Complete the ID Theft Affidavit Summary: Complete the Federal Trade Commission s ID Theft Affidavit as it may be required by creditors as evidence of your case. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides a uniform affidavit form that is accepted by the credit bureaus and by many major creditors. The FTC's ID Theft Affidavit form is available online at the FTC web site: Send copies of the completed form to creditors where the thief opened accounts in your name. Also send copies to creditors where the thief made charges on your account, to the credit bureaus, and to the police as necessary. Follow up in writing Summary: Follow up in writing with all contacts you ve made on the phone or in person. Write a letter to each credit bureau. Repeat what you said in your telephone call. Send copies of your police report and completed ID Theft Affidavit. Remind the credit bureaus that they must remove any information that you, an identity theft victim, say is the result of the theft. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested and keep a copy of each letter. Write a letter to each creditor. Repeat what you said in your telephone call. Send copies of your police report and the completed ID Theft Affidavit. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested and keep copies of your letters. Continue to review your bills carefully and report any new fraudulent charges to the creditor. Review your credit reports carefully Summary: When you receive your credit reports, review them carefully and report any discrepancy to the credit bureaus. Verify your name, address(es), Social Security number, and employers. When the inaccuracies are due to fraud or typographical errors, you should notify the credit bureau as soon as possible by telephone and in writing. Look for inquiries you didn t initiate, accounts you didn t open, and unexplained debts on your true accounts. Look for late payments for non-payments that are not yours. Ask the credit bureaus to remove any inquiries from companies holding fraudulent accounts in your name. Ask each credit bureau to remove all information in your credit report that results from the theft. You should continue to check your reports periodically, especially in the first year after you ve discovered the theft, to make sure no new fraudulent activity has occurred. The automated one-call fraud alert process only works for the initial placement of your fraud

5 alert. Orders for additional credit reports or renewals of your fraud alerts can be made separately at each of the three major credit bureaus (charges may apply) or you can contact the Annual Credit Report Request Service at or If your checks or bank account information were stolen Close your bank account(s) and open a new one with a new account number. Tell the bank you want to use a new password for access to your new account. Do not use your mother s maiden name or the last four digits of your Social Security number as the password. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of. Report the stolen checks to the check verification companies that department stores and other merchants use. See the Identity Theft Victim Worksheet for contact numbers. Monitor your account statement. You may be liable if fraud is not reported quickly. Be sure to read the debit card contract for liability. Some cards are better protected in cases of fraud than others. If you are contacted by a debt collector If debt collectors attempt to require you to pay the unpaid bills on fraudulent credit accounts, ask for the name of the company, the name of the person contacting you, phone number, and address. Tell the collector that you are a victim of fraud and are not responsible for the account. Ask the collector for the name and contact information for the referring credit issuer, the amount of the debt, account number, and dates of the charges. Ask if they need you to complete their fraud affidavit form or if you can use the Federal Trade Commission form. Follow up in writing to the debt collector explaining your situation. Include a copy of your police report and of any documents you ve received from the creditor. Be sure to send the letter by certified mail, return receipt requested. Ask that they confirm in writing that you do not owe the debt and that the account has been closed. If your driver s license card was stolen Immediately contact your local Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) office to report the theft. Ask them to put a fraud alert on your license. Go to the DMV office to request a new driver's license number since someone could be using yours as ID on bad checks or for other types of fraud. You will need to prove your identity so take current documents such as a passport, a certification of citizenship or naturalization, or a U.S. military photo ID. DMV will issue a new driver s license when you meet all the requirements. Fill out the DMV's complaint form to begin the investigation process. Take a copy of the police report and copies of other documents supporting your claim of fraud.

6 If your mail was stolen or your address changed by the identity thief Notify the Postal Inspector if you think the identity thief has stolen your mail or filed a change of address request in your name. Call the U.S. Post Office at to obtain the phone number or look in the white pages of the telephone book for the Post Office listing under United States Government. Inform the local Postmaster and mail carrier of your situation. Find out where your mail is being forwarded to and notify them to have all mail in your name delivered to your own address. If you are wrongly accused of a crime committed by the identity thief Sometimes victims of identity theft are wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the imposter. If a civil judgment is entered in your name for your imposter s actions, contact the court where the judgment was entered. Report that you are a victim of identity theft. If you are wrongfully arrested or prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the police department and the FBI. To find the local field office of the FBI, look in the white pages of the telephone book for the FBI under United States Government. ###

7 Identity Theft Victim Worksheet Use this form to record the steps you take in reporting the fraudulent use of your identity. Credit Bureaus - Report Fraud Request a fraud alert be placed in your file and a victim's statement asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts or changing your existing accounts. Ask for a free copy of your credit report (if inaccurate due to fraud). Ask that inquiries related to the fraud be removed. Order credit reports again in 2-3 months to check for new activity. Bureau Phone Number Date Contacted Contact Person Notes Equifax Experian TransUnion Banks, Credit Card Issuers, and Other Creditors Contact each creditor promptly then follow-up with a letter to protect your legal rights. Check for fraudulent charges and/or changes-of-address. Close the accounts that have been compromised and open new ones, being sure to use different, non-obvious, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords. Remember to send letters by certified mail, return receipt requested. Keep copies of all letters sent. Creditor Address/Phone Date Contacted Contact Person Notes Law Enforcement Authorities - Report Identity Theft File a police report and get a copy of it to use as proof of the crime when dealing with creditors. Also contact the FTC with their special phone number or via their online ID theft form at Agency/Dept. Phone Number Date Contacted Contact Person Report # / Notes Local Police FTC IDTHEFT OIG Stolen Checks - Stop Payment Institution Phone Number Date Contacted Contact Person Notes Your Bank Telecheck Int'l Check Services Equifax CheckRite Chexsystems CrossCheck SCAN Other Needs of Identity Theft Victims Problem Contact Removing fraudulent phone charges (within your state) State Public Utilities Commission Long distance and cellular providers CALL-FCC Fraudulent use of your SSN Misuse of your name or SSN to get a driver's license State Department of Motor Vehicles ###

8 Sample Dispute Letter To Credit Bureau Sample Letters Date Your Address Your City, State, Zip Code Compliant Department Equifax P.O. Box Atlanta, GA OR National Consumer Assistance Center Experian P.O. Box 9532 Allen, TX OR Fraud Victim Assistance Department TransUnion P.O. Box 6790 Fullerton, CA Dear Sir or Madam: I am writing to dispute the following information in my file. The items I dispute also are circled on the attached copy of the report I received. [Identify items(s) disputed by name of source, such as creditors or tax court, and identify type of item, such as credit account, judgment, etc.] I am a victim of identity theft, and did not make the charge(s). I am requesting that the item(s) be blocked to correct my credit report. Enclosed are copies of [use this sentence if applicable and describe any enclosed documentation] supporting my position. Please investigate this (these) matter(s) and block the disputed item(s) as soon as possible. Sincerely, Enclosures: [List what you are enclosing]

9 Sample Dispute Letter To Creditor on Existing Account Date Your Address Your City, State, Zip Code Name of Creditor Billing Inquiries Address City, State, Zip Code Dear Sir or Madam: I am writing to dispute a fraudulent (charge or debit) attributed to my account in the amount of $. I am a victim of identity theft and did not make this (charge or debit). I am requesting that the (charge be removed or the debit reinstated), that any finance and other charges related to the fraudulent amount be credited as well, and that I receive an accurate statement. Enclosed are copies of [use this sentence to describe any enclosed information, such as police report, ID Theft Affidavit] supporting my position. Please investigate this matter and correct the fraudulent (charge or debit) as soon as possible. Sincerely, Enclosures: [List what you are enclosing]

10 Sample Dispute Letter To Creditor on New Account Date Your Address Your City, State, Zip Code Name of Creditor Fraud Department Address City, State, Zip Code Dear Sir or Madam: I am writing to dispute an account opened fraudulently in my name. I am a victim of identity theft and did not open account number [give number of fraudulent account]. I am not responsible for any charges made to this account. Enclosed are copies of [use this sentence to describe any enclosed information, such as police report, ID Theft Affidavit, Request for Fraudulent Account Information forms] supporting my position. I am also requesting copies of any documentation, such as applications and transaction records, showing the activity on this (these) fraudulent account(s). Sincerely, Enclosures: [List what you are enclosing] Source: The Federal Trade Commission's "ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen To Your Good Name" ###

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