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IDENTITY THEFT Powered By Docstoc
					                                                                                                                                                                       Washington State
                                                                                                                                                                   Attorney General’s Office

• Send a copy of the police report to the three
  credit reporting agencies listed. The credit
  bureaus are required to block information
                                                  • If you need to obtain your fingerprints for this
                                                    purpose, the Washington State Patrol provides
                                                    this service. You will pay a fee and be given a                                                                Identity
  victims identify as resulting from identity
  theft. Once these credit reporting agencies
  receive the police report and a request from
  you, they are required to block any adverse
                                                    document indicating that your fingerprints are
                                                    on file. You may then forward this document
                                                    to the business that requested them. Businesses
                                                    refusing to provide information to you may be
                                                                                                              Resources for Identity                                 Theft
  information resulting from the identity theft     subject to actual damages, plus a $1,000 penalty              Theft Victims
  from your credit report.                          for willful violations.
                                                                                                             If you are a victim of identity theft, contact your
           Major Credit Bureaus                   If the ID thief has stolen your checks or                local law enforcement agency and the Federal
                                                  made counterfeit checks, and then used                   Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline,
                                                  those checks to make purchases or pay bills,             1-877-IDTHEFT.
P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
1-800-685-1111 (Order Credit Report)              you will likely be contacted by collection
1-800-525-6285 (Report Fraud)                     agencies that want you to pay the debts.                   The FTC and Attorney General post step-by-step
                                                                                                           directions on their websites for reporting identity
Experian                                          • Explain to each collection agency in writing that      theft and protecting your credit history. The Inter-
P.O. Box 2104, Allen, TX 75013                      you have been the victim of identity theft.            net addresses are:
1-888-397-3742 (Order Credit Report)
1-888-397-3742 (Report Fraud)                     • You will need to provide the following                 Federal Trade Commission:
                                                    information: a copy of a government-issued   
Trans Union                                         photo identification obtained prior to the alleged
P.O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022
                                                    identity theft; a certified copy of a police report;   Washington State Attorney General’s Office:
1-800-888-4213 (Order Credit Report)
                                                    a written statement describing the nature of the
1-800-680-7289 (Report Fraud)
                                                    fraud or identity theft; information regarding
                                                    the relevant financial institutions, account              The Attorney General’s Consumer Resource
Report the identity theft to your                   numbers, check numbers, etc; and a statement           Centers can help refer you to the proper authori-
financial institution and other creditors.          that the debt is being disputed because of an          ties, assist victims with referrals, and help resolve
                                                    identity theft.                                        problems with credit reporting and collections.
 • They may advise you to close your accounts                                                              Consumer Resource Centers can be reached at
   and start over with new ones.                  • Once a collection agency has been notified that
                                                    the debt is a result of an identity theft, the         1-800-551-4636.
 • Ask your financial institution what pro-         collection agency may not continue to call you.
   cedures they require of victims whose credit     This prevents victims from being inundated with
   cards or checks have been stolen or forged.      calls for every misused check if they have had a
                                                    box or book of checks stolen or forged.                             Provided courtesy of
Ask businesses to provide you with                                                                                      Rob McKenna,
information about transactions made in            • Although calls might stop, you may still be
                                                                                                                        Attorney General of the
your name.                                          subject to legal action by collection agencies.
                                                                                                                        State of Washington
                                                    However, there are limits on what a collection
 • Businesses must give you this information        agency can do to try to collect a debt from you.
   but may require proof of your identifica-
   tion including a copy of the police report
                                                    For more information about debt collection,
                                                    please see the Attorney General’s web site at
                                                                                                                                                                    A Guide For
   and a statement from the Washington State
   Patrol that your fingerprints are on file.
                                           or call the AG’s
                                                    consumer line at 1-800-551-4636.
Identity Theft: A Guide for Consumers
Introduction                                        Tips to Avoid Becoming                              Don’t carry your Social
                                                                                                        Security card.
   An identity thief is someone who steals your     a Victim
checks, your Social Security number, or other       Do not give your Social Security number,             • Leave it in a secure place. Give the
personal identification, then uses your informa-    mother’s maiden name or account num-                   number out only when necessary.
tion to obtain credit in your name or to commit     bers to strangers who contact you, espe-               Use other types of identification
a crime.                                            cially by phone, Internet or mail.                     when possible.

                                                    • Identity thieves sometimes pose as business,      Don’t carry credit cards or ID
How Identity Thieves                                  bank or government representatives to get         cards you don’t need.
Steal Your Identity                                   you to reveal personal information.
  Most identity thieves get your information by       Legitimate financial or government                Tear or shred personal informa-
stealing a purse or wallet, or by stealing checks     organizations that do business with you           tion.
or credit card information out of your mail. The      already have this information and will not ask     • This includes charge receipts, copies
identity thief is almost always a stranger. Most      for it over the telephone.                           of credit applications, insurance
victims never find out how the identity thief got                                                          forms, physician statements, bank
his or her information.                             Pay attention to what time of month your
                                                                                                           checks and statements, expired charge cards         Report the identity theft to the police or
                                                    bills arrive.
                                                                                                           and credit offers you get in the mail.              sheriff in the area where you live.
                                                    • If they don’t arrive on time, call the creditor
                                                      to make sure an identity thief hasn’t changed     Request your free annual credit report.                • Ask the police to file a police report and give
                                                      your billing address to keep you from                                                                      you a copy. You will need this to help correct
                                                                                                         • A recent amendment to the federal Fair
                                                      discovering phony charges.                                                                                 your credit rating.
                                                                                                           Credit Reporting Act allows you to obtain a
                                                                                                           free copy of your credit report from each of the    Contact one of the three credit bureaus.
                                                    Guard your mail from theft.
                                                                                                           major nationwide credit reporting companies,
                                                              • Don’t leave outgoing mail in your          at your request, once every 12 months.              • Request a security freeze. A security freeze
                                                                mailbox. Take it to your local post                                                              means that your file cannot be shared with
                                                                                                        Order your free credit report by calling                 potential creditors. While Washington State
                                                                office. Promptly remove mail after
                                                                                                        toll-free 1-877-322-8228, or visiting                    law allows consumers to request a security
                                                                it has been delivered. If you are
                                                                                                                            freeze, be aware that consumers must also
                                                                planning to be away from home, call
                                                                the U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-                                                                “unfreeze” their account to access credit.
                                                                275-8777 to request a vacation hold.
                                                                                                        What to do if You’re a                                 • Place a Fraud Alert on your credit reports.
                                                                                                                                                                 Fraud alerts notify the credit reporting
                                                             Put passwords on your credit               Victim of Identity Theft                                 agencies to contact you when an application
                                                             card, bank and phone accounts.               Washington’s new identity theft law is the             for new credit is submitted in your name.
                                                              • Avoid using easily available            toughest in the nation, but if you find you’ve be-
                                                                information like your mother’s          come the victim of identity theft, you’ll still need
                                                                name, your birthdate, the last four     to take several steps to protect yourself. Here’s
                                                                digits of your Social Security          what you should do:
                                                                number, your phone number or an
                                                                easy series of numbers such as 1234.                                                                                                 cont.

                                                                      Washington State Attorney General’s Office