Resolving Identity Theft? How to Help

FTC staff has a proud history of collaborating with legal services and victims’ rights groups, sharing legal resources and information and training hundreds of advocates throughout the country about a number of important consumer protection issues. Along the way, we’ve gotten many questions about how to help people reduce their risk of identity theft — and how to help them recover from the crime. 

This new video describes two comprehensive FTC resources for dealing with identity theft:

  • Taking Charge has step-by-step instructions that explain what victims should do now, what to do later, and how to track their progress.
  • The Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims has tools for advocates to help victims of identity theft who need more support — for example, those who are struggling with uncooperative creditors or credit reporting companies, or those who have language or health challenges.  

Identity theft can ruin a person’s financial status, credit history, and reputation, and at best, can be a real headache to resolve. Whether you’re an identity theft victim yourself — or  advocating for one — these FTC resources can be a big help. Let us know how you’ve used them.


I appreciate this
How do I get more detailed info?

The one thing that is most promising about being a victim of identity theft is that your fingerprints can never be duplicated, and you will always be able to resolve a fraudulent act by presenting your prints. The sad part is that many people pay to protect their identity while identity protection is becoming a growing business. I will bring closure to any fraudulent acts committed on behalf of my Intellectual Property and illicit use of my E.I.N. Number.

Warm Regards

that was great information.

I am in the process of re-financing my house and there is a state tax lien against me on my credit report that is NOT me. How do I get this taken off my credit report?

Start by writing the credit reporting company to dispute the inaccurate information. Then, write to the organization that provided the information (in your case, the state tax office). For tips and more specific advice, check out our article Disputing Errors on Credit Reports.

My ex-wife opened a credit card with my name and my nieces name totaling over ten thousand dollars. Now we have responsible for this debt and our wages are being garnished. How do we begin to fight this?

If someone has opened an account in your name, take these steps right away to limit the damage. Once you have created an identity theft report, there are additional steps to take to remove fraudulent accounts.

this is wonderful that you are helping victoms overcome the horrible people that steal your identity. Trust me this has ruined my life for all my id, my social security card, credit cards, and everything that i own got stolen, as well as my life, so i pray that one day it would be resolved due to the indecent people that do these kinds of things and think its okay to hurt someone, as bad as that. How is our economy suppose to survive when we as victims are having to start all over again, and dont even know where to start? My appologies, but thanks for your contribution to help those that truly are victims.

what can you do when it is a close family member receiving SSI payments and the innocent person does not even know it is happening until they are contacted because they are working full time and supposedly receiving SSI checks.

If the person's Social Security number was used, he or she should take steps to report the identity theft. In addition, the Social Security Administration has information about reporting fraud.


i just found out someone used my ss number on their taxes, i cant beleive it, i dont even know what other damages have been done, im so could someone do this to me, the video has given me good insight on the steps to take to get my life back.. thank you

Is the Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims live online? I couldn't get past the Table of Contents when I clicked the link. I use a Mac laptop and Firefox for my browser.

Hi, Mac User,
The items in the Table of Contents are links. Choose a section that you want to read, and click on the link in the TOC.

Someone needs to be sent to the administrative office for Morgan Pontiac Inc. they have files for all their customers with social security numbers, credit reports, and personal information all filed on the walls and the room is not secure. No key code box to enter the room, door is not locked during the day, files are not secure. Anyone can come into the room just take a file and leave. Their old files are not secured either. They are filed upstairs and in the other service, parts building with no lock or key code pad, anyone can steal anyone's information. Please get this checked out.

My tax accountant emailed my tax return to an incorrect email address, he misspelled my address.
I don't know what to do. It has my SS number, my address, my employer information and my bank account information.
I am so worried as to who got the email, what would you recommend I do?

Order free copies of your credit report from each of the national credit reporting bureaus over the next several months. Check these credit reports and your bank account for any unexpected changes. Be alert for other signs of identity theft. If you suspect someone is misusing your information, take steps to limit the damage. You also might want to contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490.

What I can do after reported my cousin to ICE, LAPD, to steal my ssn for work reasons and don't know what else.I am very concerned of this situation because now he got a legal status and I'm afraid about him and the lawyers who helped him to get his legal status because they can damage my background record or do something against me to make look guilty for something that I didn't because all this just to don't get caught because they broke the law to help someone who did a fraud.

I had a girl living at my home who got my social numbers and put in for a bunch of credit cards using my name and social when i found out i kicked her out and called the police and made out a report so now my credit is bad because i refuse to pay for these cards please help

Hi, bambam,
What a terrible situation. You've already filed a police report, which is a good start. You also need to file a complaint at or by calling 1-877-438-4338. The police report and the FTC complaint together make up your identity theft report. That's what you'll use to begin clearing up your credit. Once you have a report, you'll start contacting credit reporting agencies and credit card companies to close accounts that you didn't open. Here's how to do that.

I was wondering if someone could tell me where or what can be done with this situation. When I was hired for a job they did a back round check, everything was fine except for they said a mans name popped up under my social security number. I would appreciate someone helping me to go in the right direction with this. Also does anyone know why his name would on there. I called the SS office and they said something about a complaint and I am not sure where to go.

I noticed a mans name on my background check that Ralphs gave me a copy of. His name was Juan delgado. Address somewhere way up in northern California. They didn't say anything, but I noticed it and have yet to fund out what he's doing on my report

Go to for information about how to correct errors on your credit reports.

It didn't happen on my credit report just a regular employment background check.
However my credit report showed an address that I have never lIved at and whos last name was the same but first name was different after the first 3 letters

Saving you social security number is not the only thing which you should protect from theft. There are many other things which can cause identity theft issue. One should take care of below items. Bank statements Credit cards applications Insurance papers Expired identity cards, passports and driving license Medical records Tax returns Old CD’s and hard drives Photographs Shredding is a good way to avoid worries of all these things. One should also check his credit card statements and his account transaction details. All these things are necessary.

This was very helpful,I enjoyed expanding my knolage of idenity theft. I feel more aware and secure.

Thank you

Thanks for the information. Hopefully many people will gain insight about identity theft!

Over a year ago, someone filed taxes using my SS#. Since that time, I have received 2-3 letters in the mail a week regarding someone using my information to obtain credit, phones, cable, and paypal. I have done all the things advised such as putting fraud alerts on my credit bureaus, filing eith the FTC, filing with the USPS, and IC3 as well as informing the IRS. The police department says my SS# has been "sold" and I should obtain another number. I have heard that doesnt solve this. Where do you turn to to stop this?

The use of a number to identify and individual is outdated and causes great harm when used by another for fraudulent purposes. This needs to be reformed I'm congress or the SSA should have a class action lawsuit filed against for the damages this insecure number has caused people, it is a damage that has been caused when someone has ruined your life due to a number.

My ex sister in law, who is an accountant, and used to do taxes for my ex husband and myself used my social security to view my credit report. He made some statements to me about about my finances, he knew exact dollar amounts, I wondered how this could be. I decided to check my credit report through Transunion. There was an inquiry made on January 9th, through creditkarma/transunion interac, by me, ONLY I HAD NOT MADE THE INQUIRY! Next I went to karma, tried to open an account, they refused me, reason being I had recently deactivated an account, you have to wait so many days to open another. I then contacted karma, asked them what was this about, I HAD NO SUCH ACCOUNT. The support staff in karma are wonderful, after I verified who I was, they sent me an email with the email address used for the account. The email address is the same as my ex sister in law name. I confronted my ex husband, first I thought he was going to pass out, then he laughed at me and said prove it, called me a few names also. I placed a fraud alert on my credit report and and froze my account until I can figure things out. Is there anything I can do about this?

My husband and I are going through a divorce. He decided to take all the money from our joint accounts and there is not much I can do about it. However, he also took money from my own account, in my name only that I had with synchrony bank. He went online, created an account using my account number, my social security, created a password and transferred out 70,000 dollars. How can this be possible? How can he be allowed to do such a thing even if we are still married? Where and what happened to a persons own privacy and identity? I did report it to the bank and filed a police report. My lawyer asked him to return the money and he returned 65,000 however, it is not in a trust account created by the lawyers. How is this possible? Why isn't the bank returning my money? I now am subjected to spend my money as lawyers see fit. Instead of having my own saying in the matter... This in not getting my money back, this is another form taking my money. What can be done for me to get my money back?

There are steps you can take if someone stole your personal information. Filing a police report is one of the first steps, and you already did that. Read more about dealing with identity theft at

My husband tried to open and account with credit karma and when he put all his information to register credit karma said that he already had an account opened it only gave the first letter of the email and ***** and so when he started guessing the email it turns out to be his ex wifes email and he states he never authorized that . so he has been emailing credit karma from his email and explaining whats going on because credit karma does not have a phone number for customer service they state that everything has to be through email . he has been asking them to please tell him when this account was opened and when was the last time it was accessed and they are stating that is he doesn't email them from the email that his ex wife used to register they cant give him any information?! They asked if he wanted to susped the account since that is not an email that he recognizes bbut he asked them before they do that can they tell him when this account was opened and to make things worse now he is getting letter or collection on some credit cards that he never opened. What can he do ? please help !

If your husband thinks he's a victim of identity theft and someone opened credit cards using his identity, he can go to and find out what steps to take. Read about how to put a fraud alert on credit reports, get credit reports, and file a complaint with the FTC and the police.

I got my credit report, which I've not done for awhile (big mistake!) only to find out i was sued(!) in 2012 by a place I had lived in 2009, which when i had moved out in 2009 it was on good terms, so it makes it all the more odd. Not only did i not live there in 2012 but i've never heard anything about this civil suit that i assume i didn't show up for b/c i was never notified of it. i don't know who the papers could've been served on either b/c it sure wasn't me. What do i do??? please help me, any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Get information about how to handle identity theft at Find out how to put a fraud alert on credit reports, get credit reports, and file a complaint with the FTC and the police.

well i got 2 of my 3 reports right now, i had to mail away for the 3rd b/c i couldn't get it online (i apparently didn't get the questions to prove i am me right?!) so should i wait until i receive it to place fraud alerts on my credit reports, or go ahead and do it now?

Read about the  immediate steps to take if you know fraud has happened. When you call one company to ask for a fraud alert, ask the company to contact the other two credit reporting companies.

thank you Bridget, for all of your advice! I'm going to get started on this stuff Monday morning, thanks again.

My girlcriend used stold my debt card in Oct of 14 twice once in15 and the bank won't put it back in my acc. What can Ic

Go to to find out what to do if someone has used your personal information to charge your accounts. That includes filing a report with your local police department and the FTC.

I am a victim of identity theft since I was 16, I am now 29 and my life is a living hell because all the companies are trying to get their money by all means. I was garnished back in 2007 for about $2,000 even when I had solid proof that It was not me, it wasn't even possible. I called the company that I so-called owed money to and they said that there isn't anything they could do because I failed to show up in court, how can I show up in court when I didn't get any information from them? I contacted chex system like I was instructed and they sent me a list of ALL the overwhelming things that my ID was used to acquire, some I was able to prove for instance, a college loan when I was 16 but the others are still haunting me. I live in Wichita, KS and I have tried for years to get someone to help me and most of the lawyers I spoke to told me that they do not handle this kind of case or they would refer me to someone else and that person to someone else. I am tired of trying and getting anywhere and all of this over things I didn't do. I cannot afford to fly expensive lawyers in. Can someone help me

The FTC has information for identity theft victims at You'll find tips on things you can do yourself.
You can submit a complaint about problems with credit reporting companies or information about their credit reports to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
You can also contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for assistance.

Just discovered that my ex has opened a credit karma account with my info and her work email address. Is that act alone illegal?

I found two unknown addresses and one credit card on two of my credit reports. They were not on the third one. I called the credit card company listed and they said they did not see the account and they could not help me. How can that be if they are two reports? The credit card is being paid. If whoever is using it stops paying it will make my credit worse. According to emails and messages from my doctor office, Target, and another medical company, my name is a part of stolen identity. That is three different times my name is included. Also, there is a new address in town I used to live in over ten years ago. Can I get a new social security number?

Please go to and read about what to do right away when someone has stolen your identity. Find out what to tell the credit reporting companies, how to place a fraud alert on your credit reports and more.

I went to check my credit scores on credit karma and it asks for your address after you put in your name and someone else's address popped up including mine, so of course I picked mine. So is someone using my name at that address and how can I find out? If I get a report from the credit beuralwill that other address show up and it's information?

You can get your credit report for free from
By law, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion have to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, when you ask, once every 12 months.
Your credit report doesn't include your credit score, but it has a lot of important information. It includes information about where you live and your prior addresses, records of when you pay your bills, and shows if you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. The credit reporting companies sell information from your report to creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment, or renting a home..
This FTC article tells more about Free Credit Reports. If you find mistakes on your credit report, you can dispute them with the credit reporting company.


If someone used your identity to commit fraud, go to for information about what to do. Find out how to report the identity theft and how to contact the credit reporting agencies.
This FTC article about disputing errors on your credit report tells what to do about information on your credit report.

Hi Bridgett, I went to the bank and the teller asked me to tell her my ssn along with other personal identifiable information. There were people standing behind me when I said my ssn. And I know some people were alarmed that I said it out loud because they turned their heads to me. I have not applied for credit; and therefore, cannot find or freeze credit through any bureaus. I also do not have substantial evidence to report anything based on just my paranoia; although I personally know people affected by their SSNs being used fraudulently for tax purposes. Are there any ways for a person without a credit line to start protecting himself? I am primarily concerned with my ssn used by undocumented aliens for tax purposes, more than my credit because my parts of my name is hard to spell anyway--so it's hard to impersonate me. But with my ssn, a illegal alien can use it for employment--and I want to protect myself. But what can a malicious person do with just my ssn and nothing else?

You might have a credit report, even if you haven't applied for credit recently. A credit report also includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills, and whether you’ve been sued or have filed for bankruptcy. If you have a mobile phone or utility service, your credit report might show records of those accounts.
You can get your credit report for free once every 12 months. This FTC article tells how to get your free credit reports from the three nationwide credit reporting companies.

My best friend received an official letter in the mail, after requesting a birth certificate from another state. It goes on about how frustrating identity theft can be, and lists the websites he can access to ask more questions. We do know that a few years back someone had taken out student loans in his name. I don't rightly remember which steps he took back then to try and clear his record. We are trying to apply for passports, in order to take a trip next year. I have applied for mine, and he even had to sign a witness affidavit so that I could finish the application, and they were fine with his ID card then. He then sent in other official documents and had one notarized by our bank, in order to send it to another state's records office to receive his birth certificate. It's been maybe 6 days, and he has received the certificate as of two days ago. Then last night, he picked up our mail and this letter talking about identity theft had been sent. My question is, are they just late to the game, so to speak, and just now sending out official recognition of the identity theft? Or is it because it was stolen before now, and they are making sure they notify him of requests for his birth certificate? We're hoping it doesn't mean it was stolen again, as he had dent these documents electronically through the site that was referred to on the state site for sending these records in. Thanks.

Find not fund .

My daughter opened a cable bill under my name when I was out of the country now it's in collection. What should I do

When someone uses your personal information to open new accounts, that is identity theft. The FTC has information to help you recover from identity theft at
There is information about who to call to report that your information was misused, how to protect your credit report and more.

Technology opens doors that were still closed ten years ago. My children laugh like crazy when they hear my nostalgic stories about the time we parked the car to use a pay phone, or someone phoned for directions ("What? No cell phone? No GPS"). Nowadays you can chat with anyone using various technologies, or those now in the room next door or in another country. Everything goes fast and appeals to the imagination.

Best comment yet... Technology has opened the doors to crooks & destroyed innocent people

I am a victim of identity theft, I've never had any credit before, now I can't get a credit card or open a bank account in certain banks

You can report identity theft and get a personal plan with steps to help you recover at  The site will help you make an identity theft report. The report can help you fix problems with creditors and other companies.
You have a right to get your credit reports for free from Federal law requires the credit reporting agencies to give you the reports for free once every 12 months.
You have a right to ask credit reporting agencies to fix mistakes on your credit reports. This FTC article tells you more about disputing errors on credit reports.

my ex husband contacted our mortgage company to request our mortgage documents without my knowledge as he was claiming fraud due to the fact I had a modification done on the mortgages in 2015. Though everything was legal, the mortgage company sent him all the documents which included my social security number clear as day. Do I have any legal recourse I can take on him as well as the mortgage company for sending documents with my social security number in plain site for him to share without my knowledge? I believe this is a violation of my right to privacy, am I correct? If so, what could my legal recourse be?

You may find the information in these brochure of help — Privacy Choices for Your Personal Financial Information and How to Keep Your Personal Information Secure.

I found my name spelled differently and a picture of another woman when i went to people lookup on my ex husband, yet it is suppose to be me, what can i do. i think the ex is still using my name and he is in another state and has been tracking me i found out what can i do?

If you think someone is misusing your personal information, go to to report misuse, or read about warning signs of identity theft.

I'm a recent victim of identity theft. Going through the motions with the bureaus and see a soft inquiry on Transunion from: via KARMATRANSUNION INTERACT I'm assuming this is Credit Karma; however, I never used their service. Ironically, the same day, all the credit card fraud games started. Addresses were changed, accounts were opened, etc, etc. There is no phone number for these clowns, and some criminal is now apparently monitoring my credit via their site, and in wait and see mode. What can I do to stop this??

If someone is misusing your personal information, go to to report misuse, get information about contacting credit reporting companies, pre-printed letters and forms to send to businesses and more.

I resigned a work in 2015 exactly the 30th ,for many issues ,I didn't want to work in that company ,I work up to the end of the year to don't get complications with my taxes , but just now I get a w-2 form from them for 2016 ,my question it is possible some one can be working with my information in my ex work ? or is correct to get a tax form with out working that year ,in that place.

If you think someone is working with your information, that is identity theft. You can call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490 to report identity theft related to taxes.
You can also go to to get more help. That is a secure, government website. You can make a report and get information about contacting credit reporting agencies. The site will print letters you can send.

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