Responding to Identity Theft and Credit Card Fraud
Compiled by Peter Durojaiye, PricewaterhouseCooper
The following links will take you directly to the dedicated section of the specific authorities’ site addressing identity theft.
- United States Department of Justice — the Fraud Section (see link) of the site defines what identify theft is (a crime), the common ways in which they might occur, what you can do in order to minimize the chances of becoming a victim as well as what you should do if you’ve become a victim of identity theft.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — the FTC’s identity theft web site (see link) is a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft and it provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against it. On this site, consumers can learn how to avoid identity theft – and learn what to do if their identity is stolen. Under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act, the Federal Trade Commission is responsible for receiving and processing complaints from people who believe they may be victims of identity theft, providing informational materials to those people, and referring those complaints to appropriate entities, including the major credit reporting agencies and law enforcement agencies.
- Postal Inspection Service — if you suspect that an identity thief has submitted a change-of-address form with the Post Office to redirect your mail, or has used the mail to commit frauds involving your identity.
- Social Security Administration — in case your Social Security number is being fraudulently used. You may also call 800-269-0271 (from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time) to report the fraud. You can use the internet, U.S. Mail, telephone or even fax your report.
- Internal Revenue Service — should you suspect the improper use of identification information in connection with tax violations. You may also call 1-800-829-0433 to report the violation. Depending upon your personal circumstances, the information found here will cover a variety of scenarios involving identity theft, ranging from contacting the IRS with a case of identity theft to providing tips to help keep your records safe.
- Contact the fraud units of the three principal credit reporting companies:
- EQUIFAX: to report fraud, call (800) 525-6285 or write to P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374-0250.
- EXPERIAN (formerly TRW): To report fraud, call (888) EXPERIAN or (888) 397-3742, fax to (800) 301-7196, or write to P.O. Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013.
- TRANS UNION: to report fraud, call (800) 680-7289 or write to P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634.
- Creditors — contact all creditors with whom your name or identifying data have been fraudulently used. For example, you may need to contact your long-distance telephone company if your long-distance calling card has been stolen or you find fraudulent charges on your bill.
- Financial institutions — contact all financial institutions where you have accounts that an identity thief has taken over or that have been created in your name but without your knowledge. You may need to cancel those accounts, place stop-payment orders on any outstanding checks that may not have cleared, and change your Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card, account, and Personal Identification Number (PIN).
- Check Verification Companies — contact the major check verification companies if you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up by an identity thief.
- Privacyrights.org — offers a section on Identity Theft Resources with alerts, FAQ’s, fact sheets, quizzes, hotlines and more.
- CA.gov (DMV) — their online brochure provides identity theft victims with important information and resources.
- Scambusters.org — it is a popular public service website and email newsletter with free resources on how to avoid some of the common scams, identity and credit card theft threats. Their designated Identity Theft Information Center and Credit Card Fraud sites offer an introduction to theft prevention, 21 tips for protection and a long list of other useful resources.
- http://www.antiphishing.org: this is the Anti-Phishing Workgroup site – a professional working group dedicated to understanding and eradicating online identity theft
- http://www.ic3.gov: the Internet Crime Complaint Center site is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), funded in part by the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). It accepts online Internet crime complaints from either the actual victim or from a third party to the complainant.
- http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/fraud/internet_fraud: FBI’s official site to include tips to protect yourself and your family from various forms of internet and credit card fraud.
- http://www.bbbonline.org: this article directly references IDsafety.net’s identity theft quiz which is a preventive tool to help you determine if your daily habits are keeping your identity safe or putting you at risk.
- http://www.pc-help.org/obscure.htm: this site show what’s behind obscuring URL.
- http://www.phishinginfo.org: The National Consumer League’s informational site on identity theft caused by phishing. It describes how it works, how to protect yourself and where to go for help.
- http://www.identitytheft.org/: offers resources and a list of To Do’s in order to educate yourself and act if fallen victim to ID theft.
- http://www.contentverification.com/attacks.html: this site discusses and provides demonstration for the most common attacks that drive identity theft including cross site scripting, hidden frame, man in the middle, obfuscation attacks, phishing, and graphics based attacks.