How to restore your identity?
Replace missing documents
- Missing driver's license: Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (or your state's equivalent), cancel the lost license, and arrange for a replacement. Request a note be placed in your file so no one else can request an ID in your name.
- Missing passport: The U.S. State Department's website has directions for reporting and re-issuing lost or stolen passports. If you do not need to replace your passport, you can call 1-877-487-2278 (TTY 1-888-874-7793) to file a report.
- Lost or stolen Social Security number or card: If you wish to replace a lost Social Security card, you can do so by following the Social Security Administration's directions found here.
- Lost or stolen credit card/debit card/checks: Report the theft to the financial institution or credit card issuer and request that they stop payment on transactions. Request replacement cards.
Create an Identity Theft Report
- Gather your documents, including your Social Security card, driver's license, and utility bills.
- Create an Identity Theft Affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC will collect details regarding your theft and refer complaints to other government agencies and businesses. You can produce your affidavit online at ftc.gov/complaintor by phone at 1-877-438-4338 (TTY 1-866-653-4261). You may also print a PDF version of the affidavit and complete it by hand. You do not need to mail it to the FTC; simply make multiple copies for your files.
- Contact local law enforcement. Bring a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit, a government-issued photo ID, proof of your address, and any additional proof of the theft (bank account statements, credit card statements, etc.). You should also bring along the FTC's "Memo to Law Enforcement."
- Complete and file a police report and ask for a copy of the report for your records. At a minimum, be sure to get the report number.
Create an initial fraud alert and order your credit reports
Placing an initial fraud alert makes it difficult for identity thieves to open fraudulent accounts in your name. To do this, simply contact one of the three credit reporting agencies (or annualcreditreport.com), and ask that a fraud alert be placed on your account. Request that this agency alert the other two on your behalf. When you place a fraud alert on your credit report, you are telling businesses that they must first verify your identity before responding to any credit requests.
Consider a credit freeze.
If you would like more control over your credit than what is offered with an extended fraud alert, you may consider requesting a security freeze, which entirely prevents anyone other than you from accessing your credit report. A security freeze stays in effect until you request it to be lifted, and should only be used if you will not need credit extended in the near future—for example, if you don't have plans to secure a car loan or open a new credit card. If you do need credit extended during the alert period, you can request a temporary lift.
To request a security freeze, you must use each agency's online process or submit a letter via certified mail.
Act quickly if you suspect medical identity theft
- Contact your doctor, explain the situation, and request copies of your medical records.
- Review your records carefully, and report any errors to your medical provider.
- Send a letter to your both your healthcare provider and your health insurance carrier. Explain the error and ask that your file be updated to only include accurate information. Include a copy of your Identity Theft Report. Send the letters via certified mail, with return receipt. You should receive a reply within 30 days.
- Notify the credit reporting agencies of the medical related issue.
- If you haven't already, review your credit reports for any medical debts.
Clear compromised tax records.
- Contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1‑800‑908‑4490 or irs.gov/identitytheft.
- Report the fraud, and request and complete IRS form 14039.
- Send the IRS a copy of your police report and form 14039, along with proof of your identity, such as driver's license or passport.
Dispute fraudulent activity on financial accounts
- Reset all passwords and PINs for your accounts.
- Track down the dispute resolution address for the businesses.
- Contact the dispute department and find out if they'll accept your Identity Theft Report. If not, request that the business send you the forms they use.
- Complete and send a dispute letter to the business using certified mail. The letter should include an explanation that you are a victim of identity theft, a list and documentation of the errors, and a request to remove the fraudulent info from your account. Send a copy of your Identity Theft Report, or the forms required by the business, with your letter.
- Request a letter confirming that the fraudulent information has been removed. Save a copy of this letter for your files.
Monitor your identity for the future.
Request your credit reports three times a year. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies once a year. Mark your calendar to request one report every four months.
Free reports can also be requested from www.annualcreditreport.com.
Review all account and billing statements. Be on the lookout for suspicious charges or bills for accounts you are unfamiliar with.
Protect your personal information. Think carefully about the information you share online, and take steps to keep personal information safe at home, such as investing in a shredder. Protect your computers with antivirus and firewall software. Do not open email attachments, or click on links, from unknown senders.
How to report Identity theft
Go to identitytheft.gov or call 1-877-438-4338 to report id theft immediately if you think you have been a victim.