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When Reporting Identity Theft

In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates, times, names and phone numbers. Note the time spent and any expenses incurred. Confirm conversations in writing. Send correspondence by certified mail (return receipt requested). Keep copies of all letters and documents.

Once you discover you are a victim of identity theft you should notify the following agencies about the situation.

Credit Bureaus

Immediately call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union. Report the theft of your credit cards or numbers. The phone numbers are provided at the end of this brochure. Ask that your account be flagged. Also, add a victim statement to your report, up to 100 words. ("My I'D has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at (your telephone number) to verify all applications.") Be sure to ask how long the fraud alert is posted on your account, and how you can extend it if necessary. Be aware that these measures may not entirely stop new fraudulent accounts from being opened by the imposter. Ask the credit bureaus in writing to provide you with a free copy every few months so you can monitor your credit report. Ask the credit bureaus for names and phone numbers of credit grantors with whom fraudulent accounts have been opened. Ask the credit bureaus to remove the inquires that have been generated due to the fraudulent access. You may also ask the credit bureaus to notify those who have received your credit report in the last six months in order to alert them to the disputed and erroneous information (two years for employers).

Creditors

Contact all creditors immediately with whom your name has been used fraudulently-by phone and in writing. Get replacement cards with new account numbers for your own accounts that have been used fraudulently. Ask that old accounts be processed as "account closed at consumer's request." (this is better than "card lost or stolen" when this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.) Carefully monitor your mail and credit card bills for evidence of new fraudulent activity. Report it immediately to credit grantors. Creditors requirement to report fraud. You may be asked by banks and credit grantors to fill out and notarize fraud affidavits, which could become costly. The law does not require that a notarized affidavit be provided to creditors. A written statement and supporting documentation should be enough (unless the creditor offers to pay for the notary).

Law Enforcement

Report the crime to the law enforcement agency with jurisdiction in your case. Give them as much documented evidence as possible. Get a copy of your police report. Keep the report number of your police report handy and give it to creditors and other who require verification of your case. Credit card companies and banks may require you to show the report to verify the crime. Some police departments have been known to resist writing reports on such crimes. Prior to January 1st, 1998 the creditors (credit card companies, banks etc.) were the only "legal" victims of Credit Fraud/Identity Theft. California Penal Code Section 530.5 went into effect on January 1st 1998, thus giving legal standing to individual victims. Some police departments have not yet received training in the new laws of Identity Theft. Be persistent!

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) was established as a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) and is not directly affiliated with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office. It's basic objective is to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate.

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