An identity thief is someone who steals your
checks, your Social Security number, or other
personal identification, then uses your information
to obtain credit in your name or to
commit a crime.
We hope you never find you’ve been the victim
of an identity thief. But if you are, this
brochure should help you to regain your true
credit history with the least amount of time,
cost and effort.
How Identity Thieves
Steal Your Identity
Most identity thieves get your information by stealing a purse or wallet, or by stealing checks or credit card information out of your mail. The identity thief is almost always a stranger. Most victims never find out how the identity thief got his or her information.
Tips to Avoid
Becoming A Victim
• Do not give your Social Security number, mother’s maiden name or account numbers to strangers who contact you, especially by phone, Internet or mail. Identity thieves sometimes pose as business, bank or government representatives to get you to reveal personal information. Legitimate financial or government organizations that do business with you already have this information and will not ask for it over the telephone.
|• Pay attention to what time of month your bills arrive. If they don’t arrive on time, call the creditor to make sure an identity thief hasn’t changed your billing address to keep you from discovering phony charges.
• Guard your mail from theft. Don’t leave outgoing mail in your mailbox. Take it to a collection box or your local post office. Promptly remove mail after it has been de-livered. If you are planning to be away from home, call the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request a vacation hold.
• Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information like your mother’s name, your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number, your phone number or an easy series of numbers such as 1234.
Help for Victims
Where to Go For Help
The major credit bureaus are:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
1-800-685-1111 (Order Credit Report)
1-800-525-6285 (Report Fraud)
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
1-888-397-3742 (Order Credit Report)
1-888-397-3742 (Report Fraud)
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
1-800-888-4213 (Order Credit Report)
1-800-680-7289 (Report Fraud)
What To Do If You Are A
Victim of Identity Theft
Washington’s new identity theft law is the
toughest in the nation, but if you find you’ve
become the victim of identity theft, you’ll still
need to take several steps to protect yourself.
Here’s what you should do:
• Report the identity theft to the police or
sheriff in the area where you live.
• ID theft is a felony, and charges may be
filed against the thief in the county where you
live. Ask the police to file a police report and
give you a copy. You will need this to help
correct your credit rating.
• Report the identity theft to your financial
institution and other creditors.
• They may advise you to close your accounts
and start over with new ones.
• Ask your financial institution what procedures
they require of victims whose credit
cards or checks have been stolen or forged.
• Tell the prosecuting attorney that if the
person who stole your identity is found
guilty, you’d like the court to issue you an
order Correcting Public Records.
• This is a court order you can use to correct
public records damaged by identity theft.
of the fraud or identity theft; information
regarding the relevant financial institutions,
account numbers, check numbers, etc;
and a statement that the subject debt is being
disputed because of an identity theft.
• Once a collection agency has been notified
that the debt is a result of an identity theft,
the collection agency may not continue to call you. This prevents victims from being inundated
with calls for every misused check if
they have had a box or book of checks stolen
• Although calls might stop, you may still be
subject to legal action by collection agencies.
However, there are limits on what a collection
agency can do to try to collect a debt
from you. For more information about debt
collection, please see the Attorney General’s
web site or call the AG’s consumer line at 1-800-551-4636