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Information on Identity Theft


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.

  • Don’t carry your Social Security card.Leave it in a secure place. Give the number out only when necessary. Use other types ofidentification when possible.
  • Don’t carry credit cards or ID cards you don’t need.
  • Tear or shred charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards and creditoffers you get in the mail.
  • If you want to inspect your credit report, order a copy from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Make sure it is accurate. The law allows credit bureaus to charge up to $8.50 for a copy of your report. You can request a free copy if you’ve been turned down for a credit application and the denial of credit was based on the information from the credit-reporting agency.

Help for Victims

Where to Go For Help

  • If you are a victim of identity theft, contact your local law enforcement agency and the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline, 1-877-IDTHEFT.
  • The FTC and Attorney General post step-by-step directions on their websites for re-porting identity theft and protecting your credit history. The Internet addresses are:
  • The Attorney General’s Identity Theft experts in our statewide Consumer Resource Centers can help refer you to the proper authorities, assist victims with referrals, and help resolve problems with credit reporting and collections. Consumer Resource Centers can be reached at 1-800-551-4636.

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)

Trans Union

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

or forged.

• 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