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ID Theft Damage Control

Would you let someone take all the money in your bank account without your permission? Or allow someone to open up new credit card accounts in your name and run up a large debt on each one without your approval? Regardless of what you want, it can still happen to you, in one of the fastest growing crimes to affect consumers - ID Theft.

No matter how many precautions you take, you can still become a victim of Identity Theft. But don't despair - taking action immediately can help lessen the extensive damage that this illegal activity can leave in its wake. Here are some considerations if you suspect someone else is using your identity:
  • Contact the fraud department of one of the three national credit reporting agencies immediately. One call to any of the three national credit reporting agencies will place a "fraud alert" on all three of your credit reports.
    - Experian: PO Box 2104, Allen, Texas 75013-2104
    888.397.3742
    www.Experian.com
    - Equifax: PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
    800.525.6285
    www.Equifax.com
    - TransUnion: PO Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
    800.680.7289
    www.TransUnion.com
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can call their Identity Theft hotline at (toll-free) 877.IDTHEFT (877.438.4338), TDD: 202.326.2502, contact them by mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20580, or go to www.consumer.gov/idtheft to file a fraud complaint.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline: 800.269.0271.
  • Contact your bank and all creditors by phone and in writing regarding your accounts.
  • Contact your local police to see if state consumer protection laws apply; also, contact your local postmaster if you suspect mail was used to commit the fraud. You can also call the US Postal Service Crime Hot Line: 800.654.8896.
  • Visit The Identity Theft Resource Center at http://www.idtheftcenter.org. It is a nationwide non-profit organization that provides support to victims and broadens public awareness.
  • Contact Call For Action, Inc., another non-profit group that provides phone counseling to identity theft victims at 866.434.6854.
Take the first step in precautionary measures by checking your Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion credit reports.

This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
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