File identity theft complaints with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) online at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
Victims who don't have Internet access can call the FTC's toll-free ID theft hotline at 877-ID THEFT
(TTY: 866-653-4261). It's open Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Time. For some good information regarding scams, check this web page...www.fakechecks.org
Scam Reminders: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...
When receiving offers via telephone, e-mail or regular US Postal Service that seem suspicious it is best to ignore them, delete them, or throw them away and not to participate. If anyone initiates contact with you posing as a representative of a business and requests banking, credit card, or other personal information, hang up. Never give this information out to anyone who initiates a call or other communication with you. Legitimate businesses will not call their customers to ask for this information, they already have it. You may then call the institution the person claims to represent and report the incident to them. Remember, if anyone sends you a request for money up front for a service, prize, or award, the contact is most likely a scam. Simply do not respond to these requests.
* Phishing: Read the Federal Trade Commission's publication, "How Not to Get Hooked by a 'Phishing' Scam," at www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/alerts/phishingalrt.htm
* Identity Theft:
Visit the Department of Justice at
and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service's Web site at
* Cybercrime: Visit the Department of Justice's Web site at www.cybercrime.gov.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, www.usdoj.gov/criminal/fraud/Phishing.pdf, March 1, 2005.
Immediate Steps ID Theft Victims Should Take
* Contact the police, and get a copy of the law enforcement report.
* Call one of the nationwide credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to place a fraud alert on their credit files and get copies of their credit report for free. An alert can prevent someone from opening a credit account in the victim's name. Call the toll-free fraud number of any one of the three companies to place the alerts with all the companies and get the credit reports.
* Contact each financial institution where fraudulent
accounts were opened, and close the accounts. Speak to
someone in the fraud or security department. Follow up in
writing. More information on how to dispute fraudulent
accounts is available at
www.consumer.gov/idtheft and in Take Charge: Fighting
Back against Identity Theft, a publication from the Federal
Trade Commission. Victims can get this publication online at
* Contact the FTC at www.consumer.gov/idtheft to report the ID theft and learn how to minimize the effects of the fraud and protect personal information. When the victim files a complaint with the FTC, it becomes available to law enforcement through the Consumer Sentinel network.
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