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What to do if you are the victim of identity theft

Placing a fraud alert on your credit is just the first step.

In 2020, identity fraud losses totaled almost $56 billion.* People of all ages, education levels and incomes get scammed. If you become a victim, take these steps:

Contact the fraud division

Notify every financial institution where you have accounts (that includes us!). Call the fraud division of each one. Maintain a log of dates and times you called, whom you spoke to, the outcome of the call and any next steps you or the institution agreed to take.

Place a fraud alert on your record

Place a 90-day fraud alert on your record with the nationwide credit reporting agencies:

File reports with the authorities

File reports with the police and the Federal Trade Commission. Also, ask them about the latest scams that you may not know about.

Validate your information

Contact your local post office, Social Security office and the Department of Motor Vehicles to confirm they each have accurate information about you and your address.

Alert your doctor

Inform every entity that has access to your financial and credit records, including your doctors, pharmacy, and insurance and mortgage companies.

Change your passwords

Change all your online passwords, and if the option is available, enable two-factor authentication on all your accounts to help protect you against online scams.

Report fraudulent transactions

If you see a fraudulent transaction or misrepresentation committed in your name, inform the vendor and financial institution involved. Dispute the bill, and do not pay it.

Review your bank and credit card statements

Review your bank and credit card statements every month, looking for fraudulent activity.

Be wary of phone calls and emails

Be wary of phone calls and emails from people you don’t know. Identity thieves might contact you repeatedly because they know that prior victims are often easily scammed again.

 

* Source: Buzzard, J., & Kitten, T. (2021). 2021 Identity Fraud Study: Shifting Angles. Javelin. https://www.javelinstrategy.com/content/Javelin-2021-Identity-Fraud-Study

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