File identity theft complaints with the FTC (Federal Trade
Commission) online at
FTC's ID theft Website
Victims who don't have Internet access can call the FTC's
toll-free ID theft hotline at 877-ID THEFT
866-653-4261). It's open Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00
p.m., Eastern Time.
For some good information regarding scams, check this web
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...
offers via telephone, e-mail or regular US Postal Service that
seem suspicious it is best to ignore them, delete them, or throw
them away and not to participate.
initiates contact with you posing as a representative of a
business and requests banking, credit card, or other personal
information, hang up.
Never give this
information out to anyone who initiates a call or other
communication with you. Legitimate businesses will not call
their customers to ask for this information, they already have
You may then call
the institution the person claims to represent and report the
incident to them.
anyone sends you a request for money up front for a service,
prize, or award, the contact is most likely a scam. Simply do
not respond to these requests.
* Phishing: Read the Federal Trade Commission's publication,
"How Not to Get Hooked by a 'Phishing' Scam," at
* Identity Theft: Visit the Department of Justice at
and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's Web site at
* Cybercrime: Visit the Department of Justice's Web site at
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division,
www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/Phishing.pdf, March 1, 2005.
Immediate Steps ID Theft Victims Should Take
* Contact the police, and get a copy of the law enforcement
* Call one of the nationwide credit reporting companies
(Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to place a fraud alert on
their credit files and get copies of their credit report for
free. An alert can prevent someone from opening a credit account
in the victim's name. Call the toll-free fraud number of any one
of the three companies to place the alerts with all the
companies and get the credit reports.
* Contact each financial institution where fraudulent accounts
were opened, and close the accounts. Speak to someone in the
fraud or security department. Follow up in writing. More
information on how to dispute fraudulent accounts is available
www.consumer.gov/idtheft and in Take Charge: Fighting Back
against Identity Theft, a publication from the Federal Trade
Commission. Victims can get this publication online at
* Contact the FTC at
www.consumer.gov/idtheft to report the ID theft and learn
how to minimize the effects of the fraud and protect personal
information. When the victim files a complaint with the FTC, it
becomes available to law enforcement through the Consumer