Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number, or other personal information to commit fraud or other crimes.
If You Suspect Your Identity Has Been Compromised
Place an 90-day fraud alert on your credit report
Contact any one of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies listed below (they will contact the others) to place a free 90-day fraud alert. Fraud alerts can be renewed if needed.
Review your credit report, credit card statements, and other financial information for suspicious activity
- You can request a free credit report from each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies (listed above) per 12-month period. The easiest way to get free copies of your credit report is to visit AnnualCreditReport.com. For more information, see the Federal Trade Commission's Free Credit Reports page.
- Look for suspicious activity, such as new accounts you did not open or purchases you didn't make.
Consider putting a credit freeze on your account
Also known as a security freeze, this restricts access to your credit report. It makes it more difficult for identity thieves to open new accounts in your name. You need to consider that this also means you will need to ask for the freeze to be lifted before applying for new credit, or doing business that might rely on someone checking your credit (for example, before applying for a car loan, being approved by a new landlord, or getting some types of insurance). For more information, refer to Federal Trade Commission: Credit Freeze FAQs.
Set up alerts for your credit card(s) and bank accounts
These alerts will send you an email or text message when money is spent above certain thresholds or your account has been used without the card present.
Report identity theft to the federal government and get a recovery plan
To report identity theft to the federal government and get a recovery plan, visit the Federal Trade Commission's IdentityTheft.gov website. This is the federal government’s one-stop resource for identity theft victims. The site provides streamlined checklists and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process.
Complete and submit the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039
If you find your personal information has been used to commit fraud, file a report with your local police department
This will allow you to send a copy of the Identity Theft Report to creditors that require evidence that you allege a crime has occurred. You will also be able to place an extended fraud alert or a credit freeze on your credit line. Learn more at FTC Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes.