WHAT TO DO IMMEDIATELY IF YOU HAVE BECOME A VICTIM OF "IDENTITY THEFT"
NOTIFY THE POLICE: Contact your local police department to file a criminal report. Document the names and phone numbers of everyone you speak to regarding the incident. List exactly what has happened, such as bad checks, credit card abuse, or misuse of name, state driver license, or identification card. Follow up your phone calls with letters. Keep a copy of the police report.
CONTACT ANY DRIVER LICENSE OFFICE (Links apply to Texas Only, other 49 states coming soon): After you have filed a police report, you may contact any local driver license office for assistance in determining the best course of action for your individual situation. You will be asked to supply personal documentation for proof of your identity as well as police reports, copies of returned checks or cancellation information on credit card or checks. You may also be asked to complete a Forgery Affidavit form that will need to be notarized. A copy of the form can be obtained at any local driver license office or printed from www.txdps.state.tx.us.
NOTIFY CREDITORS AND MERCHANTS: If unauthorized charges appear on your legitimate credit cards, cancel those cards and request replacement cards with new account numbers. Cancel all unauthorized credit cards and close those accounts. Monitor credit card bills for new fraudulent activity and, if found, report it immediately to the credit card issuers and credit reporting agencies.
NOTIFY YOUR BANK(s) : Ask them to flag your accountand contact you regarding any unusual activity. Take the following action in the event of such activity: if checks were stolen, place stop payment orders on them; if bank accounts were opened without your consent, close them.
AUTOMATIC TELLER MACHINE (ATM) CARDS: If your ATM card has been stolen or compromised, contact the issuing financial institution and request a new card, account number, and password. Do not use your old password, common passwords, personal identification such as the last four digits of your social security number, your birth date, middle name, mother’s maiden name, address or anything else that could be easily discovered.
CONTACT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION: Report the unauthorized use of your personal information to 800-269-0271 or visit their website: www.ssa.gov.
CONTACT THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION: The FTC can confirm whether or not someone has applied for credit in your name. File an identity theft complaint at: 877-438-4338 TDD: 202-326-2502 or write FTC, CRC-240, Washington, DC 20580 or www.consumer.gov/idtheft/. Be sure to ask for the free brochure: ID Theft, When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name.
NOTIFY THE U.S. PASSPORT AGENCY : Notify the U.S. Passport Agency to be on alert for anyone applying for a new passport fraudulently in your name: U.S. Passport Agency, 1111 19 th Street, N.W., Washington D.C. 20522-1705, 202-647-0518 or at: www.travel.state.gov.passport .
REPORT THE THEFT TO ONE OF THE THREE MAJOR CREDIT REPORTING AGENCIES
Request that a fraud alert and a victim’s statement be placed in your file. Also, request a FREE copy of your credit report to determine if any accounts were opened without your consent and request the agency remove inquiries and/or fraudulent accounts stemming from theft. As these agencies share information, notification to only one is necessary.
Equifax: To request a credit report: 800-685-1111 Option 4. To report fraud: 800-525-6285 or write to P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374 or the website: www.equifax.com .
Experian: To request a credit report or report fraud: 888-397-3742 or write to 701Parkway, Allen, TX 75013 or website: www.experian.com.
Trans Union: To request a credit report: 800-916-8800. To report fraud: 800-680-7289 or write to P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634 or website: www.transunion.com.
DRIVER LICENSE DIVISION FRAUD INVESTIGATION UNIT
The Fraud Investigation Unit can assist you in the process up to, and including, possible arrest of the identify thief following an investigation.
The Texas Legislature has established a procedure to help victims of identity theft. An individual who believes that their identity has been fraudulently used must contact their local Sheriff’s Office to file a report that his/her identity has been used by another person without their consent. The Sheriff’s Office can then report that information to a statewide file managed by the Department of Public Safety. If you have any questions concerning this process, please contact your local Sheriff’s Office or contact the Error Resolution Unit in the Crime Records Service within the Department of Public Safety at 512-424-7256.
MAJOR CHECK VERIFICATION COMPANIES
If you have had a check(s) stolen or bank account opened fraudulently, report it to the check verification companies listed below. Place a stop payment order on any invalid (or unauthorized) checks . Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers.
Never give your credit card number or other personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you have initiated the contact or you are sure you know who you are dealing with. Personal information includes: social security number, driver license number, account number(s), date of birth, place of birth, home address, mother's maiden name or passwords.
When you order new checks, consider removing extra information such as your social security number, driver license number, middle name and telephone number.
Check your credit history and bank records frequently. Look for signs of inaccurate or suspicious activity.
Keep detailed and accurate records of your banking, check writing, credit card and ATM usage.
Ensure that carbons on credit card receipts are destroyed.
Purchase a home cross-cut shredder (DO NOT BUY ONE THAT CUTS STRIPS) or completely destroy any items that may have personal information and identifiers, such as address, date of birth, social security number, driver license or identification card number and account number(s), rather than discarding them in the trash.
To minimize the amount of information subject to theft, do not carry extra credit cards, your social security card, birth certificate or passport in your wallet or purse, except when needed.
If your cellular phone or long distance calling card has been stolen or if you discover fraudulent charges in your bills, cancel the accounts and open new ones.
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