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Coping With Identity Theft: What To Do When an Imposter Strikes

NCJ Number
Date Published
9 pages
This paper describes how to prevent and cope with identity theft.
Identity theft includes accessing and using another person's credit reports, PIN numbers, credit cards, loan applications, or tax information. To prevent identity theft and to minimize losses if it occurs, reduce access to personal data. Do not carry in your wallet extra credit cards, Social Security cards, etc., except when needed. Install a locked mailbox at your residence. Retain credit card receipts; do not throw them in public trash containers. Store canceled checks in a safe place. Never discard paper bearing personal data without first tearing it into small pieces or shredding it. If you become a victim of identity theft, immediately report it to the police; call your credit card issuers; call the fraud units of Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union credit reporting companies; notify your bank(s) and cancel checking and savings accounts; notify the Postal Inspector if you suspect mail theft, which is a felony; and keep a log of all conversations, including dates and names, with authorities and financial institutions. The paper includes addresses of credit reporting bureaus, organizations to remove names from mail and phone lists, and other organizations to contact in case of identity theft.