Steps to take if your identity has been stolen

If you are a victim of identity theft, please take the following steps as soon as possible. Keep a written record with details of your conversations and copies of all correspondence.

Step One: Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any additional accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too.

Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you’re entitled to order free copies of your credit reports, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your SSN will appear on your credit reports. Once you get your credit report, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from companies that you haven’t contacted, accounts you didn’t open, and debts on your accounts you can’t explain. Check information like SSN, address, name and initials, and employers are correct. If you find fraudulent information get it removed. Call Federal Trade Commission for assistance at 1.877.ID.THEFT or www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Step Two: Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently

Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing, and include copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. It’s important to call and follow up in writing with credit card companies and banks. Send all correspondence via certified mail with return receipt requested so you can document what the company received and when. Keep a file of all correspondence.

When you open new accounts, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) and passwords. Avoid using easily available information like your mother’s maiden name, birth date, phone number, etc. If the identity thief has made charges on your accounts, request a copy of the company’s fraud dispute form. Additional information pertaining to account closure and reopening accounts can be found at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Notify your bank(s) immediately of your possible or actual Identity Theft.

Step Three: File a report with your local police in the community where the identity theft took place.

Get a copy of the police report or at the very least the number of the report. It can help you deal with creditors who need proof of a crime. If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a “Miscellaneous Incidents” report, or try another jurisdiction like state police.

Step Four: File a complaint with the federal trade commission

By sharing your identity theft complaint with the FTC, you will provide important information that can help law enforcement officials across the nation track down identity thieves and stop them. The FTC can refer victims’ complaints to other government agencies and companies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violation of laws the agency enforces.

Follow Up:

These four steps BEGIN the process of handling an Identity Theft. All of the information on this page was obtained from the booklet: Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft. Copies of the booklet are available at all Premier Bank offices or can be obtained online at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

The Federal Trade Commission and their various Identity Theft booklets are excellent sources of information as an individual works through an Identity Theft situation. Quick action and notification of all impacted companies offers an effective means to control the extent of the identity theft.

If you have questions, please contact your personal banker at 563-588-1000 for further assistance.