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IDENTITY THEFT VICTIM CHECKLIST

Checklist - Identity Theft Prevention PREVENTION REPAIRING BAD CHECKS SAMPLE LETTERS
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Your good credit standing and good name have been compromised. Unscrupulous thieves are using your name to obtain goods and services. By now you have either gotten notices from check collection agencies stating that you have written bad checks and need to pay some company x amount of dollars to clear your name, or you have noticed charges being run up on your credit cards. Now it's time to clear your name and prove that you are not the perpetrator. What can you do to fight back?

Your purse or wallet is missing. Either you lost it, or it was stolen; better lost than stolen. Maybe your home has been broken into. You may not even notice that during the break-in someone went through your personal papers. If any of these things happen to you, you need to go through the following procedures. For purposes of placing a typical scenario, let us assume that your purse or wallet was stolen.

BE ORGANIZED

Get yourself a good binder with several dividers and loose leaf paper for each section and a large brown envelope to keep in the back of your binder so that everything is all in one place. Label the envelope and the notebook "Identity Theft". Label all of your dividers: Police, Credit Cards, Checks, Cell Phones, Etc.(depending on who all you will be contacting – have a divider for each type item and a different page for each company so that you can keep straight with each company what has been done so far, who has been working with you and on what date. Get used to putting all pertinent documents inside the envelope. Keep a log of all telephone conversations in your binder, and include:

  • the name of the person you spoke with
  • the time and date of the call
  • the phone number
  • what you discussed with that particular person

THE POLICE REPORT

Call the police. The very best course of action is to get the police to come to the scene of the crime, fill out a report on the spot and give you a copy. If this is not possible, call them as soon as possible. Even if you show no sign of a break-in, but your checkbooks are all spread out over your desk, ask to have a report filed, the police may see how someone got in that you didn’t know to look for. If your home has been obviously broken into but you don’t notice that your papers have been gone through- assume that they have. After you report the crime, ask that they mail you a copy of the police report. But remember, the wheels of government grind slowly.

It may take quite a long time to get your police report in the mail. You may be unable to clear your name fully until the police report comes back, which may take several months if you don’t ask for it immediately or offer to go down to the station and pick it up. (If the wallet or purse was lost, also report this to the police. Make sure to tell them that it was lost and possibly stolen). If you have a series of occurrences, get police reports every time and keep them in a safe place. If later it proves to be only one perpetrator, you want to be able to prove several different offenses by the paper trail that you are collecting.

The police report is the most important piece of paper you will possess when clearing your name. Without it you are in for a rough ride. Everyone requires a police report as proof that you were a victim of crime, and not a bad check writer or someone who abuses the credit that was extended to you. In identity theft, you are guilty until proven innocent. The police report is your proof. Make sure the report contains a list of items that were stolen. These items may include books of checks from possibly several different accounts, driver's license, identification cards, credit cards, ATM cards, Social Security cards and passports. All of this should be listed on the police report along with cellular telephones, pagers and any other items you need to include.

After you report the crime, the Police will give you a case number. Write it down in your “Identity Theft” notebook and put the police report in your “Identity Theft” envelope! Write down the name and badge number of the officer who took your call, the officer who will handle your case, and also any other information the police provide you with. Write this information in your “Identity theft” Notebook, or file it in your Identity theft envelope!

Once again, before you hang up, ask the police officer that a copy of the police report be mailed to you at your home address. Ask him if there's anything you can do to expedite the report process such as picking up the
report yourself.

After the crime, take your car to the Police department to have it dusted for fingerprints if the theft included an auto break-in. Obtaining a successful set of fingerprints from a car is difficult. It's up to you if you want to go through the trouble. You should work with the law enforcement in any way to give the police every opportunity to apprehend the perpetrator. Who knows, there could be a fingerprint match.

START CALLING

Right after getting through with the police, immediately contact all three credit reporting agencies, let them know what happened and ask for fraud alerts to be put on your credit report at all three agencies. This will immediately stop a perpetrator from being able to get any more credit in your name without your authority.
Explain to each credit agency that you have been a victim of identity theft. Tell them what happened. You will be removed from a list the agencies provide for instant credit. We now have a direct link to the credit reporting agencies on the VAA home page. Just click on the CREDIT REPORTS Button and it will link you to all three.

IMPORTANT

Ask that a fraud alert or protective statement be added to your credit file. Be sure to ask how long the statement will remain on your credit file. Make sure it stays on for a at least a year. Ask for a permanent one – if they won’t do that mark your calendar and keep one in place at all times so that you are less likely to have a problem again. When a credit grantor accesses your credit file and sees the fraud alert, they should contact you on your home phone to verify that it was you who requested the credit. Because this is not fail proof we recommend that you also ask to have a PIN or password added to your whole credit report. Do this with all three credit reporting agencies.

Place a fraud alert with all three credit agencies. Merchants, whom your perpetrator may go to, applying for credit or to open an account of some type, may call you to verify an account opening. If you have not tried to open an account personally, tell them about the identity theft immediately and another potential theft under your good name can possibly be stopped in its tracks. If they are calling you directly from the store and the perpetrator is standing there waiting for instant credit, ask them to contact the police and have him arrested. Give them the # on your police report, the police department that filed it along with the officers name and badge number so that the law enforcement in the store’s area can trace that and hopefully apprehend a perpetrator. Also, depending on how long ago the robbery took place, ask each agency if there is any recent activity on your file. Request a current copy of your report be sent to you. There should be no charge if possible fraud is suspected.

There are companies available that collect, report and investigate returned checks. If any bad checks are written with your information, you will want to call these agencies. It may not hurt to try and contact them and prevent a problem before it occurs. The contact numbers are listed here in case you want to try and get a jump start on the thieves.

CHECK REPORTING AGENCIES
INFORMATION
CHECK RITE 1.800.766.2748
CHEX SYSTEMS 1-800-428-9623
or 1.800.328.5121
CRA SECURITY SYSTEMS 1.800.486.0955
CROSS CHECK 1.800.552.1900
or 1.707.586.0551
EQUIFAX 1.800.556.9000
or 1.800.437.5120
EQUIFAX RISK MANAGEMENT SERVICES 1.800.898.3068
EQUIFAX-TELECREDIT 1.800.437.5120
INTERNATIONAL CHECK SERVICES(ICS) 1.800.631.5380
NATIONAL PROCESSING COMPANY 1.800.526.5380
SHARED CHECK AUTHORIZATION NEWWORK (SCAN) 1.800.262.7771
TELECHECK 1.800.685.5000
or 1.800.710.9898

OK, You’ve got your police report, you’ve contacted the credit reporting agencies. Get comfortable. Put your Identity Theft Binder in front of you and start by calling your bank or banks. Explain that your purse was stolen with ID and checks, and you need to close your account. Figure out if there are any outstanding checks, and leave enough money in your old account to cover these for a few days. If you are unsure about outstanding checks, request a stop payment order. Take the bulk of your money and open a new account with a new number. If you have overdraft protection, you want to make sure it is not in force, or it may be used to pay for your stolen checks that a perpetrator is writing in your name. Cancel your ATM card and have another one issued. Write down the name of the person you speak with along with other info listed above.

Ask your bank to require a personal password of anyone accessing your account. When you go to the bank to make a deposit or withdrawal, the teller will ask you the password before your transaction. This will not affect your ability to call the bank for account information. It will not affect your ATM or writing checks to merchants, it will stop a perpetrator.

Next, if you do not have your cards listed with a credit card protection agency, you need to start calling and canceling credit cards. If you don't remember which ones you were carrying, go through all of your paid bills and canceled checks and try and figure out which ones you may have had. If you are not sure if you had a particular card, call anyway and cancel it.

Cancel all major credit cards, gasoline cards, department store cards, phone cards, library cards, AAA cards, video store cards If someone checks a video or book out in your name and then does not return it, you will be liable. This may take awhile. Use your credit reports that the credit reporting agencies supplied to you and go down the list and cancel everything for good measure if you are not sure what the perpetrator has. You may ask to have new cards and pin numbers reissued in a different account number as you cancel the old ones. Just get the old ones cancelled as quickly as possible. Your perpetrator is shopping and you don’t know what he’ll choose to use first.

Call the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and report that your driver's license was stolen. You may not get much reaction from them in this initial call. For instance, in California, you need to request a form called (DL 11). Hold onto it for later. To change your driver's license number, someone actually has to have committed fraud using your driver's license, so you can't have the number changed yet. For the steps needed to have your driver's license number changed, please select "REPAIRING BAD CHECKS".

Call Social Security and tell them that your Social Security card was stolen. In some cases you may be able to get another number, but this may result in future complications. At any rate, you may want to order a new card.
The number for the Social Security Administration is (800) 269-0271. They will also send you information on what to do if someone misuses your social security card.

Call the Passport Agency to report a stolen passport. Ask for the form for reporting a lost or stolen passport. Fill the form out and send it back. Do not request another passport at this time. For some reason, it's better to submit one request at a time, or the wheels of government get confused and crank to a halt, and you have to duplicate your efforts. Number for Passport information is 1-900-225-5674. Please note a fee is charged for using this number. Or check your local phone book.

Have your cellular phone reported as stolen, see what your company advises that you do. They may want to leave it on to see if the perpetrator makes any calls. This could help the police more easily catch the person who did this crime. You may get saddled with a few expensive calls, but it may be worth it. Give them authorization to contact the police immediately if any call is made on your phone. Give them the # on your police report, the police department that filed it along with the officers name and badge number so that the law
enforcement in the store’s area can trace that and hopefully apprehend a perpetrator. They will advise you if you should automatically cancel the phone after say one week if no calls are made.

Notify the Postal Inspector if you suspect mail theft. Theft of mail is a felony. See ID Theft Links for this info.

Once you have done all of the above, we suggest that you contact an advocate with Victims Assistance of America, Inc (VAA) and let them know what your problem was and what youÕve done so far so that we can see if there is anything else in your situation that you should in fact be doing. Never just discount a problem without checking with us, or if you seem to have a continuing problem Ð definitely contact us to see if there is something else (in your specific situation) that should be done that we can recommend or help you with.

If an identity theft does still occur, take solace in the fact that you will not lose out financially, and check out the rest of VAA's victim and advocacy links throughout the site for additional help especially the ID Theft Prevention Checklist Located in the left hand column of buttons in the Checklist Menu at the top. or contact one of our advocates if you’d like further help or have questions.

VAA is helping 1500 victims per day now.
If you’d like to know what VAA does to help a victim, check out this link:
http://victimsassistanceofamerica.org/eduinfo/idtheft_faq.cfm and scroll down to this question for that information: I hope that you will reconsider your harsh language regarding services to help I.D. Theft victims.


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