Recover from Identity Theft

Getting your identity back can be challenging, but taking the following steps could give you a head start on the road to resolution.

place fraud alerts on your credit reports

Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any accounts in your name.

review your credit reports

Review your credit reports from all three credit bureaus to help you detect fraudulent activity (or the possible fraudulent use of your credit information). Under federal law, identity theft victims are entitled to one (1) free credit report, once a year, from each of the credit bureaus, but you'll want to monitor all three credit reports several times over the following weeks to check for potential issues.

Close Accounts That Have Been Violated or Opened Fraudulently

You'll need to speak with someone in the fraud department of each company you have credit with. You'll also want to follow up in writing with a fraudulent account statement. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document the delivery of your letter.

Get New Accounts with New PINs and Passwords

Use new personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords when you reopen your accounts.

file a complaint with the federal trade commission (ftc)

Use the FTC online complaint form or call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4338); TTY: 866-653-4261. Be sure to call and update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.

file a report with the police

If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a "Miscellaneous Incident" report, or try another jurisdiction, like the state police or your attorney general. An official police report can help you establish proof of a crime which can help facilitate the resolution process.