Information About Identify Theft and What To Do if You Are a Victim

Criminals can use a victim's identity to obtain credit and credit cards, steal money from existing accounts, apply for loans, establish accounts with utility companies, rent an apartment, file for bankruptcy, obtain a job, or commit countless other crimes using the victim's name. It can take months or years for a victim to realize their identity has been stolen, and then years and a significant amount of money to rectify the problem.

How a thief gets your information

Skilled identity thieves use a variety of methods to gain access to your personal information. For example:

  • They rummage through your trash, or the trash of businesses or dumps.

  • They steal credit and debit card numbers as your card is processed by using a special information storage device.

  • They steal wallets and purses containing identification and credit and bank cards.

  • They steal incoming or outgoing mail, including bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks, or tax information, or checks made payable for balances due on existing accounts.

  • They scam information from you by posing as a legitimate business person or government official.

  • They overhear your conversations at your desk, the bank, retail outlets or anywhere else you might be asked for personal information.

What to do if you're a victim

Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus. Tell them you are an identity theft victim. Request that a "fraud alert" be placed in your file. At the same time, order copies of your credit reports.


    • To order your report: (800) 685-1111

    • To place a fraud alert: (888) 766-0008

    • TDD (800) 255-0056

    • Write: Equifax, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241


    • To order your report call: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)

    • To report fraud, call: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)

    • TDD (800) 972-0322

    • Write: Experian, P.O. Box 9532, Allen TX 75013

  • TransUnion:

    • To order your report, call: (800) 888-4213

    • To report fraud, call: (800) 680-7289

    • TDD (877)553-7803

    • Fax: (714) 447-6034

    • Write: Fraud Victim Assistance Department, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634-6790

Contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Creditors can include credit card companies, phone companies and other utilities, banks and other lenders.

  • File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place. Obtain a copy of all police reports.

  • Report it to the US Postal Service or the local post office if the theft involves stolen or tampered mail

Contact Social Security Fraud if your Social Security Number was used

  • SSA DATA OPS P.O. Box 7004 Wilkes Barre, PA 18767

  • Hotline (800)269-0271

Contact the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles if your driver's license number has been used.

  • Order a copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus at least once a year.

Report any fraudulent use of your checks:

  • Check Rite/Global Payments
    (800) 638-4600

  • SCAN
    (800) 262-7771

  • Tele-Check
    (800) 710-9898

  • Chex Systems
    (800) 328-5121