Identity Theft

I believe I have Identity Theft. What steps do I take when I can’t reach the Federal Government?

Put a freeze on your credit score by contacting each of the credit bureaus. Report it to the local police.

Why would you be contacting the Federal Government over this issue? I am just curious. Report it to local police to have a police report to refer to when reporting it to the credit bureaus. Dispute the charges with each of the credit bureaus. Put a hold on your credit reports via online forms. It is very rare that the police do anything about it or even investigate. But you will need that police report for when you need to explain what happened to a future creditor.

Of course contact each creditor that has a false account opened with them to report the error and provide the police report info. But I have found that no one actually does anything about it.

I had a business account that someone opened ran up to $5k and never made a payment that sat on my credit for like 3 years. Only recently has it fallen off my credit bureau reports after reporting it for all that time.

In general, the main things you should do if you think your identity has been stolen is to contact at least one of the three main credit bureaus to report a potential theft, get a copy of your credit report, and potentially put a freeze on your credit score (there are pros and cons to this). In addition, you should contact both the Social Security Administration (if you have a Social Security Number [SSN]) and the Federal Trade Commission to report possible identity theft. If you think your personal information is being used to file fraudulent tax forms or if you do not have an SSN (such as an ITIN or IRSN), download a copy of the Identity Theft Affidavit form, Form 14039, from, and mail it in. This will alert the IRS of potential tax-related ID theft. If the IRS detects a potential tax-related ID theft, they have different means/programs to protect your tax filings.

In addition, you should contact the police to file a report and alert all your financial institutions of a potential compromise to your identity - especially if they do not get this information from the credit bureaus.

My last piece of advice is to change all your online passcodes, passwords, and PINS they may be linked to your Social Security number. Most online systems need you to confirm Personally Identifiable Information (PII) such as part or complete Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) such as Social Security or Individual Tax Identification Numbers, address and dates of birth to confirm identity and allow access to accounts. An identity thief, with this information, can potential access financial accounts, change the account password and lock you out while they take your money.

Hope that helps.

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I was a victim of credit fraud back in 2000 and it was a long, slow slog to get it fixed. That was then; now, it is much easier to fix even through all the data breaches.

1.Yes, put a freeze on your credit report immediately. In fact, I’d keep a freeze on all CRAs from here on out. Yes, it’ll be inconvenient when you yourself need to make a major purchase or get a loan but it’s a guarantee that no one, ever, can open accounts in your name without proving they are you…

  1. Make a police report and keep the number you’re assigned (you may need to it as proof) if you have an idea of why it happened (and who did it…I did back in 2000).

  2. Just in case, change all your financial account passwords or for other accounts you regularly use. That includes your email; yes, I had to change mine recently because Credit Karma showed it had been compromised on the dark web.