Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. It’s a serious crime that can wreak havoc with your finances, credit history, and reputation — and can take time, money, and patience to resolve.
What to Do Right Away
Immediate Steps to Repair Identity Theft
Here’s how to begin to limit the harm from identity theft.
What to Do Next
Extended Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes
Placing both extended fraud alerts and credit freezes on your credit reports can make it more difficult for an identity thief to open new accounts in your name.
Repairing Your Credit After Identity Theft
Here are step-by-step instructions for disputing fraudulent charges and accounts related to identity theft.
Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards
Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft. More information here.
Specific Types of Identity Theft
Tax-Related Identity Theft
Do you know the warning signs that an identity thief is using your Social Security number? More information here.
Child Identity Theft
Here’s how to protect your child’s personal information against theft. More information here.
Medical Identity Theft
An identity thief can use your personal information to get medical care or services. Find out how to respond. More information here.
Protecting Your Identity
Signs of Identity Theft
If identity thieves have your personal information, they can drain your bank account, run up charges on your credit cards, open new utility accounts, or get medical treatment on your health insurance. Here’s how to act quickly to limit the damage.
How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure
Safeguard your personal information, whether it is on paper, online, or on your computers and mobile devices. More information here.
Sample Letters and Forms
Sample Letters and Forms for Victims of Identity Theft
Use these samples to help write your own letters to limit damage caused by identity theft.
Source: Federal Trade Commission, “Prevent and Report Identity Theft” http://www.consumer.ftc.gov. Accessed November 30, 2015. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
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