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What to Do if Your Identity Is Compromis... > Initiate a Fraud Alert on Your Credi... - Pg. 94

94 chapTer 5 Identity Theft when your identity has been stolen, persistence and documentation are essential in aiding to your defense and recovery. Identity theft is a difficult and trying experience and can take months if not years in which to rectify. According to a recent study conducted by the ITRC, 4 it can take up to 5,840 h to correct matters related to iden- tity theft. Unless you have 2 years of your life to give away, you will want to read this chapter. freeze All of your Assets The first action that you should do is to freeze all the accounts that you believe have been tampered by fraudulent activity. Contact the fraud or security department of each company where you suspect this activity. Be sure to follow up in writing and include any supporting documents or evidence that you feel is important. The documents that you send should not be the originals. You will want to retain the original documentation for yourself. It's okay to send copies of any of your support- ing documentation. Initiate a fraud Alert on your Credit Reports By initiating a fraud alerts with a credit report agency, the alerts will prevent the possibility of the culprits from opening any other accounts in your name. Typically there is one of three consumer reporting agencies to contact. Which one will depend on which you decide to contact. Bear in mind that when a fraud alert is issued, the first agency that is notified is required to contact the other two consumer reporting agencies. So, you need to be in contact with only one of them. Consumer credit agencies whom you can work with: · · · Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742);; P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013 TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790 Notify the Local Police Believe it or not, this is a very important action to perform ­ after all, you are a victim of a crime and your local police force can help you more than you realize by you filing a police report on your identity theft. Given the infrequency in which they receive these reports, the police may be reluctant to cooperate with you. However, if you come prepared with your Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ID Theft Complaint in hand, odds are in your favor of getting some cooperation. File a police report that specifically calls out identity theft. If you are unable to file a police report specifically on the identity theft, then request that a miscellaneous police report be filed instead. No matter what, don't settle without a police report of some kind!