How to Report Identity Theft
If you are a victim of identity theft, you are not alone.
- The Bureau of Justice Statistics reports 17.6 million U.S. residents aged 16 or older experienced one or more types of identity theft in 2014—that’s 7% of the population.
- Misuse of a credit card or bank account was cited in 86% of stolen identity cases.
- Half of identity theft victims who were able to fix their problems did so in a day or less.
If you believe someone has misused or attempted to misuse any of your personal information, follow these steps to report identity theft. And give us a call. We’re here to help.
Steps for reporting identity theft
Report it where the fraud occurred.
As soon as you suspect identity theft has occurred, contact the company or organization associated with the account you believe has been compromised. Explain what happened and ask them to help you stem any fraudulent charges.
- Financial: Call your financial institution and explain the situation.
- Credit cards, checks, ATM or debit cards: Cancel these cards immediately.
- Bank, credit card or debit account takeover: Close the account and open a new one.
- Governmental: Contact the appropriate agency.
- Tax refunds: If you receive an IRS notice in the mail explaining someone used your information to get a refund, follow the instructions in the letter. Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1.800.908.4490, then fill out IRS form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Social Security: If you suspect someone is using your Social Security number to get a job, file for benefits or anything else, call the Social Security Administration at 1.800.772.1213 or visit your local Social Security Administration office.
- Medical: Check records for all signs of fraudulent activity.
- Medical forms: Request copies from your medical provider.
- Disclosures: Obtain from your medical provider a list of all entities your provider gave personal medical information to.
- Billing: Contact the billing department of any provider or collection agency requesting payment. Explain it’s a case of mistaken identity.
File an identity theft police report.
Many banks, credit card companies and other organizations require a police report to launch an investigation. Fill out the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit, then contact the police and explain what happened. Share as much documentation as you can, including financial statements, receipts, letters, credit reports, etc., to support your case.
After meeting with police, ask when a copy of the police report will be ready and how you can get a copy. Jot down the police report number and the name of the officer taking your identify theft police report, and get a phone number so you can provide new information as it arises.
Different law enforcement agencies will handle identity theft differently. If your law enforcement agency will not file a police report for identity theft, ask for a Miscellaneous Incident Report.
Notify the credit bureaus.
Equifax®, Experian™ and TransUnion® are the three largest and most important credit bureaus in the United States. Contact each to notify them that your identity has been compromised:
Ask them to flag your file with a fraud alert so they‘re able to recognize if another account opens in your name. However, fraud alerts can be temporary, so you may want to ask how long it will apply and renew it if necessary. Ask for a copy of your credit report from each bureau for your own review. In case you spot any inaccuracies, you can point them out and ask for them to be changed. Ask for your report six months later to confirm that the changes you requested have been made.
Keep all documentation regarding your case.
Maintain an up-to-date file of all documents relating to your case, especially disputed bills, credit reports and the police report. Keep all of the originals. If you need to mail statements to your financial institution or law enforcement agency, mail copies. Keep a record of the dates and times of your related telephone conversations for future reference.
Contact the government.
Depending on how your identity was stolen, the U.S. government may be able to provide additional assistance on reporting identity theft.
This is the government’s one-stop resource to help you identify, report and recover from any type of identity theft. It takes you step-by-step through different types of identity theft and helps you set up a plan to reclaim your identity.
The FTC will advise you on next steps based on your complaint. Their website is a helpful source for reliable information. Not only does it help you manage identity theft and learn how to prevent it in the future, but it includes a rundown of identity theft-related laws specific to your state.
There is a special office within the Social Security Administration (SSA) known as the Office of the Inspector General that is responsible for investigating identity theft crimes. If you are concerned that your Social Security number may have been compromised, contact your local SSA office to request a copy of your Social Security statement.
User your resources.
The Identity Theft Resource Center is a non-profit organization that can provide you with additional resources if you’ve been the victim of identity theft.
Give us a call.
Your Ameriprise Auto & Home Insurance home policy includes coverage to help offset the costs associated with identity theft. (Those with renters or condo insurance are covered, too.)
Victims of identity theft may be reimbursed for some losses, and no deductible applies. When you contact us to report identity theft, have your policy number handy. We’ll ask you what happened, the costs you’ve incurred, for copies of related receipts, and how law enforcement is handling your case.