- Quick facts
- What to do if your personal information is compromised
- How to report if you have been a victim of identity theft
It's important to protect your personal information, and to take certain steps quickly to minimize the potential damage from identity theft if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen:
- Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review those reports carefully. Notifying one of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies is sufficient.
- Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
- File a police report with local law enforcement officials. This is an essential step in claiming your rights.
- Report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission, online, by phone, or by mail.
And before identity theft happens, learn how to safeguard your information at ftc.gov/idtheft.
What To Do If Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised
The bottom line for online threats like phishing, spyware, and hackers is identity theft. ID theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. That's why it's important to protect your personal information. To find out how to deter and detect identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft.
But, according to OnGuard Online, if your personal information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen, taking certain steps quickly can minimize the potential for the theft of your identity.
Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review the reports carefullyThe alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert; a call to one company is sufficient:
- TransUnion: www.transunion.com, 1-800-680-7289
- Experian: www.experian.com, 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
- Equifax: www.equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain. Note: these are not the same as a security freeze.
Place a security freeze on your credit accounts
Under Indiana law, a security freeze placed on your credit reports can block an identity thief from opening a new account or obtaining credit in your name. The security freeze is stronger than fraud alerts and can be temporarily lifted when needed. For more information, visit our page on Indiana Data Protection Laws.
Close accountsClose any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently:
- Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
- Use the ID Theft Affidavit to support your written statement.
- Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
- Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
File a police reportFile a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime. This report will also help you claim your rights as a victim of identity theft.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade CommissionYour report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.
- Online: ftc.gov/idtheft
- By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
Consider an Identity Theft monitoring service
You may wish to consider purchasing a third party Identity Theft monitoring service, which typically monitors your credit and other consumer reports on your behalf.
For more information, see How to Choose an Identity Theft Monitoring Service from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
How to Report if You Have Been a Victim of Identity Theft
If your information has been misused, file a report about your identity theft with the police, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/idtheft. Read Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft