There are several ways to report identity theft in USA. The Federal Trade Commission and local police departments are the main places to start an investigation and restore your credit and good name. They offer online tools that make it easy to report identity theft, and they store your information securely in a database for other law enforcement agencies to access during investigations.
The FTC offers a free online identity theft portal, which gives you a place to report the crime, find out what happened and generate a personalized recovery plan. In addition, it provides forms to send to the three major credit reporting companies and allows you to track your progress online.
In addition to the online id theft report, the FTC also has an ID Theft Hotline, which you can call to speak with an ID theft advocate. This hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
If you suspect someone has stolen your personal information, the FTC recommends reporting it to the police first. In some cases, the police may need to see a copy of your FTC report before they can start an investigation.
A police report will help you prove that the identity thief committed the fraud and that your account or credit information was used fraudulently. It will also allow you to get a police affidavit, which you can use to dispute any charges or accounts.
Once you have a police report, notify your creditors and any other businesses that opened credit in your name fraudulently, by phone and in writing. Ask them to close any fraudulent accounts and obtain new account numbers and PIN numbers, if necessary.
Contact the three credit reporting agencies to request that they put a Fraud Alert and Victim Impact Statement on your credit file, which will warn creditors that you are a victim of identity theft. This will prevent them from granting credit in your name and reduce your risk of future identity theft.
The credit reporting agencies will also place a security freeze on your file, which will restrict the access to your credit by potential thieves. This freeze will be effective for up to six months, and it will remove any inquiries on your credit report that could result from the identity theft.
You will also need to place a fraud alert on your file with the credit reporting agencies, and to send a letter to all of them telling them that you are a victim of identity theft. These letters are a good way to show that you have taken action and are in the process of recovering from the crime.
After you have notified the credit agencies and all of your creditors about the identity theft, be sure to monitor your accounts for suspicious activity. This is important because you can’t be sure that a criminal hasn’t already changed or removed charges on your accounts.
Lastly, you should always change your passwords on all of your accounts. It is a good idea to use complex passwords that include a mix of numbers, letters and symbols. The more complicated the passwords, the harder a criminal will need to break into your accounts.