Identity Theft

Identity Theft

  There are five main steps that you as the victim should take upon discovering that you are a victim of an identity crime. These steps are as follows:

1)  File a Police Report.  The victim is required to file a police report in order to dispute fraudulent accounts and /or transactions.  On the day you file a police report, the Borough of Berwick Police Department will provide you with a one page report indicating the Borough of Berwick Police Department incident report number, the date and time that you made the report and your name and contact information.  You will need to send a copy of the police report to each involved bank, creditor, other business, credit bureau, and debt collector in order to dispute fraudulent accounts or transactions.

2)  Complete an “Identity Theft Affidavit” for each compromised or fraudulently opened account.  The victim is required to prepare an affidavit stating you did not commit the fraud.  A copy of an “Identity Theft Affidavit” that is accepted by most businesses, creditors, and debt collectors, can be obtained at the Federal Trade Commission Website: www.consumer.gov/idtheft/.  A copy of this affidavit must be coupled with a copy of the police report and sent to every creditor, business, and debt collector through which a fraudulent account or transaction has occurred.

3)  Close all accounts believed to have been compromised or opened fraudulently.  The victim should immediately contact the credit card companies, banking and other financial institutions and close all accounts that have been compromised. The victim can then work with the financial institutions to re-establish an alternate account to prevent further fraud.

4)  Place a fraud alert.  The victim must contact at least one credit bureau to place a fraud alert.   You are entitled to receive one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus so that you may attempt to identify new fraudulent activity.  The free credit reports can be obtained through www.annualcreditreport.com.

The three major credit bureaus are:

Equifax – www.equifax.com - 800-525-6285

P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian – www.experian.com - 888-397-3742

P.O. Box 9530, Allen, TX 75013

Trans Union – www.transunion.com - 800-680-7289

Fraud Victim Assistance Division

P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634

5)  File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The victim should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.  This can be done two ways, on the “Identity Theft Hotline” at 1-877-438-4338 or on the internet at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.