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.

Blog Topics: 
Privacy & Identity

Comments

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 RECENTLY BEEN HIT WITH INDENTITY THEFT,AND I NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD IT HAPPEN TO ME. THE VIDEO HAS HELPED ME KNOW WHERE TO START, THANK YOU

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 hurt.how 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 ftc.gov/complaint 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.

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!

Thanks to www.consumer.ftc.gov

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 ftc.gov/idtheft.

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 yahoo.com 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 ftc.gov/idtheft 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 ftc.gov/idtheft. 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 IdentityTheft.gov 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 identitytheft.gov. 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.

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