What to do if you are a victim of Identity Theft or Identity Fraud:
If you think you've become a victim of identity theft or fraud, act immediately to minimize the damage to your personal funds and financial accounts, as well as your reputation. Here's a list -- based in part on a checklist prepared by the California Public Interest Research Group (CalPIRG) and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse -- of some actions that you should take right away:
Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to report the situation:
- Online - Federal Trade Commission
- By telephone - Toll-free at 1-877-ID THEFT (877) 438-4338 or TDD at (202) 326-2502
- By mail - Consumer Response Center, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580
Under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act , the Federal Trade Commission is responsible for receiving and processing complaints from people who believe they may be victims of identity theft, providing informational materials to those people, and referring those complaints to appropriate entities, including the major credit reporting agencies and law enforcement agencies. For further information, please check the FTC's identity theft Web pages . You can also call your local office of the FBI or the U.S. Secret Service to report crimes relating to identity theft and fraud.The United States Department of Justice
What to do if you are a victim of Criminal Identity Theft:
The California Identity Theft Registry is available to help victims of identity theft who are wrongly linked to crimes. The registry provides a centralized place that can be checked by police and other authorized persons to confirm that you are not wanted by law enforcement and that a mistaken criminal history was created in your name.
How you might become a victim of "Criminal" Identity Theft:
- The thief is cited or arrested for a crime and uses your name for police records
- The thief is charged and prosecuted in your name so your name now appears in court records
- The thief is convicted in your name of a crime
- Your name is somehow mistakenly associated with a record of a criminal conviction of some other individual
If victimized, you may be able to correct the problem by presenting information on your identity theft to the law enforcement agency that requested issuance of the arrest warrant. Otherwise, you will need to go to court for a finding of factual innocence. You then can apply to have this court finding entered into the California ID Theft Registry.
The registry application process
Step 1 - Get court order/verification
Step 2 - Get live scan fingerprints
Step 3 - Complete registration application form
Step 4 - Complete checklist for application
Step 5 - Mail documents
Step 6 - Receive registration notification
The information above is from the website of the Office of the Attorney General, State of California, Department of Justice.
How to “Freeze” your credit files
from the Attorney General's Website: Privacy Enforcement and Protection
If you live in California, you have the right to put a “security freeze” on your credit file. A security freeze means that your file cannot be shared with potential creditors. A security freeze can help prevent identity theft. Most businesses will not open credit accounts without first checking a consumer's credit history. If your credit files are frozen, even someone who has your name and Social Security number would probably not be able to get credit in your name.
A security freeze is free to identity theft victims who have a police report of identity theft. If you are not an identity theft victim and you are under 65 years of age, it will cost you $10 to place a freeze with each of the three credit bureaus. That is a total of $30 to freeze your files. If you are not an identity theft victim and you are 65 years of age or older, it will cost you $5 to place a freeze with each of the three credit bureaus. That is a total of $15 to freeze your files.
Office of the Attorney General, State of California, Department of Justice
This website will provide you with the following information:
- What is criminal identity theft?
- How you may have become a victim of criminal identity theft
- What to do in case of arrest?
- The California identity theft registry application process
- The first step: Getting a certificate of identity theft
- The next steps to getting into the identity theft registry
- Additional Resources
- Sample forms
Other helpful agencies and contact information
California Department of Consumer Affairs
Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20580
United States Secret Service
Los Angeles 213-894-4830
FBI Los Angeles
CheckRite (800) 766-2748
ChexSystems (800) 428-9623 (closed checking accounts)
CrossCheck (800) 552-1900
Equifax (800) 437-5120
National Processing Co. (NPC) (800) 526-5380
SCAN (800) 262-7771
TeleCheck (800) 710-9898