Persons believing they have been the victim of identity theft, have several avenues to travel to for identity theft help, to stem the financial loss and restore their name and reputation.
The first step is finding identity theft help immediately. You don’t want to take a wait-and-see attitude as by waiting, it can, and probably will, get worse. It also will not go away by being ignored.
The first step should be to contact the Federal Trade Commission, which is charged under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, with taking and responding to complaints from people believing they are victims and to provide identity theft help.
The FTC can be reached by phone at 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or by mail at the Consumer Response Center, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580. You can also contact your local FBI office or the US Secret Service for identity theft help. Those phone numbers are listed in your local telephone directory.
The Postal Inspector should be contacted if you need identity theft help and believe an identity thief has improperly instituted a change of address and if you believe your social security number is being used fraudulently, contact the Social Security Administration at 800-269-0271. If there’s reason to believe your information is being improperly used in connection to income tax violations, contact the IRS at 800-829-0433.
Contact Consumer Credit Reporting Agencies
Credit reporting agencies now offer periodic copies of your credit report, often for free or at a nominal charge. The big three agencies should be contacted for identity theft help and they can redirect you to their fraud units.
Equifax, located in Atlanta, Georgia, can be reached by calling 888-525-6285. For identity theft help from Experian, call 888-397-3742. Trans Union also offers identity theft help through its fraud unit by calling 800-680-7289.
Most credit reporting agencies have what is called an opt-out list, which will remove your name from those obtained by marketing and credit companies. This would end the receipt of pre-approved offers of credit cards and others which rely on credit reporting to pre-qualify people based on an initial credit report. For identity theft help you can contact Equifax at 888-567-8688; Experian at 800-353-0809 or Trans Union at 800-680-7293.
If you have experienced stolen checks or had bank accounts set up by a thief, identity theft help can also be obtained from local stores with which you conduct business. Contacting them will aid in your recovery efforts and prevent legal action against you for the crimes of another.