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An identity thief doesn’t just steal your credit card and go on a spending spree. They get new cards, open new accounts and take out loans, and then leave a trail of unpaid bills in your name.
Identity theft victims may be unaware that their identity has been stolen until they receive a collection call or try to obtain credit.
If you suspect your personal information has been hijacked and misappropriated to commit fraud or theft, take action immediately. Contact any of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. You also can order a credit report to identify any unauthorized activity.
Despite your best efforts to manage the flow of your personal information or to keep it to yourself, skilled identity thieves may use a variety of methods to gain access to your data.
Millions of Americans become victims of identity theft each year. Although the problem continues to grow, there are a number of ways you can help protect yourself and prevent the unlawful use of your personal identity. Here are some tips:
One of the most important steps you can take to ensure that you have not become an Identity Theft victim is to check your credit report.
The following are the most crucial steps you should take after becoming a victim of identity theft. Refer to the “Other Important Things to Remember” section below for a list of agencies and important phone numbers you’ll need.
Keep complete records
When contacting the credit bureaus, you may also want to:
Contact the Social Security Administration
For more tips on how to protect you and your family from identity theft as well as what else to do if your identity is stolen, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877 IDTHEFT (438-4338), visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft, visit the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s ID Theft website at http://cbi.state.co.us/idtheft/, or talk with your Vectra banker.
“Consumer Handbook to Credit Protection Laws”
Laws and Acts that protect you when you apply for credit.
P.O. Box 105873
Atlanta, GA 30348
Order Report: 800-685-1111
Web site: www.equifax.com
Experian (formally TRW)
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013-2104
Order Report: 888-397-3742
Web site: www.experian.com
U.S. Federal Trade Commission
(oversees operation of credit bureaus)
Consumer Response Center:
Web site: www.ftc.gov
U.S. Postal Service/Inspector:
Web site: www.usps.gov/websites/depart/inspect
U.S. Social Security Administration
Report Fraud: 800-269-0271
Web site: www.ssa.gov
U.S. Social Security Cards: 800-722-1213
U.S. Secret Service
(Look in local phone book under government pages)
Web site: www.secretservice.gov
Check Rite: 800-766-2748
Natl Processing Co.: 800-526-5280M
Birth Certificates & Other Vital Records:
4300 Cherry Creek Drive South
Denver, CO 80246
Consular Regular Report of Birth
(for U.S. citizens born abroad): 202-955-0307
Immigration and Naturalization: 800-375-5283
Pre-Screened Credit Offers: 1-888-5OPTOUT