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Restoring Your Good Name

These step-by-step guidelines were developed to help you repair the damage caused by
identity theft. More information is available from your local police and the credit bureaus themselves.

Contact the Police

Contacting the police allows them to start investigating the crime. You will also want to obtain a copy of the police report, the police report number, and the name of the investigator. Banks, credit card companies, and other agencies may require this information as proof of a crime.

   • When filing a police report, provide as much documentation as you can to prove you have been a victim of  
   identity theft. Documentation including collection letters and credit reports can help the police create a thorough
   report.

• If the identity theft occurred while you were away from home, you may also need to file a police report in the
   jurisdiction where the theft actually occurred.

• Get a copy of the police report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of a crime.
 

   
Contact the Credit Bureaus

Notify the credit bureaus that you believe you have been a victim of identity theft and request that your file be flagged with a "Fraud Alert." Fraud Alerts expire after 5 years, and have a $5.00 fee per credit bureau.

Request copies of your credit report from each bureau to review. If information contained within your report is inaccurate, you may dispute it and request that it be changed. Request your credit report again in a few months. This will help you confirm that the requested changes have been made and whether your report has been changed without your knowledge. This may also identify additional occurrences of identity theft.

Close Suspect Accounts

Close the accounts you know or suspect involve identity fraud.

Credit Accounts and ATM Cards: Report the incident to all institutions with which you hold credit card and ATM cards. Ask the financial institution or agency to send you a fraud dispute form to complete. When reopening new accounts, be sure to use new PINs to reduce the risk of future identity theft.

   • If your financial institution is not assisting you with the issues related to your identity theft, you may contact the
  agency with jurisdiction over your financial institution.

• Keep in mind that each creditor may have its own process for handling a case of identity theft. Therefore, be
   sure to specifically ask each creditor what its process is, what is expected of you, and what you can expect
   from them.