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RESTORATION - What should I do now?

If you're reviewing this section, there is a good chance that you are already a victim of identity theft.  As such, you are a prime example of how it can happen to anybody!  Please take a moment to think about the people in your life, who you care about, and tell them about  You can help spare them from the time, expense, and aggravation that you are going through now.  Don't you wish someone had told you about the importance of credit monitoring and other preventive measures?  Also, please visit our victim section and share your story so that others can learn from your experience.  Thank you.

  1. If you planned ahead and enrolled for a credit monitoring service , chances are that you learned about the identity theft event through being notified by that service.  The first thing you should do is to call the service's toll-free number to speak with the ID theft counselors that are provided as part of your membership.  Depending upon the service you chose, they will usually either send you a package of information for you to use or they might even do the paperwork and follow-up for you! 

  2. If you don't have a credit monitoring service that offers restoration benefits, you will have to either do it all yourself or hire an expert at a significantly higher cost.  If you do choose to handle the situation yourself, be sure to keep complete and accurate records of telephone and mail communications, including dates, times, the contact people you speak with, and notes about your conversations. Also consider the following resource:

    From Victim To Victor: A Step By Step Guide For Ending the Nightmare of Identity Theft, Second Edition with CD - This highly acclaimed and recommended book (and CD for PC or Mac) contains instructions for victims including laws, forms, affidavits and other resources.   The sample letters allow you to complete essential correspondence to various agencies by filling in the blanks, completing the forms and affidavit.   You can also surf directly to dozens of helpful website resources. You'll have peace of mind knowing you have written a professional legal letter to effectively resolve your problems.   It's like having your own "lawyer-coach" showing you the way at a fraction of the cost of even one hour of attorney time.   It is a lifesaver for you to regain your identity.

  3. Place a "fraud alert" on your credit report.  If you report the fraud to one credit bureau, that bureau should notify the other two, but don't assume that will happen.  Be proactive and call all three.  Once the credit bureaus confirm the fraud, you will receive all three credit reports free of charge.

    Equifax -
    To report fraud, call: 1-800-525-6285 and write:
    P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
    Hearing impaired call 1-800-255-0056 and ask the operator to call the Auto Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111 to request a copy of your report.

    Experian -
    To report fraud, call: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) and write:
    P.O. Box 9530, Allen TX 75013
    TDD: 1-800-972-0322

    Trans Union -
    To report fraud, call: 1-800-680-7289 and write:
    Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634
    TDD: 1-877-553-7803

  4. Close any accounts that have been used or opened fraudulently. Use the Federal Trade Commission's ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.

  5. File a police report and get a copy to submit to creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.

  6. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission .

  7. STAY ON TOP of your credit report.  If you haven't already, you should enroll for a credit monitoring service.  Sometimes, your problem is limited to one identity theft event.  Other times, however, this is just the beginning and it pays to be proactive. 


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Quote of the Day
"A good reputation is more valuable than money." - Syrus (Publilius Syrus)
Tip of the Day
If you receive pre-screened credit card offers in the mail, but don't shred them after you decide you don't want to accept the offer, identity thieves could retrieve the offers for their own use without your knowledge. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to opt out of receiving these pre-screened credit card offers. The three major credit bureaus use the same toll-free number to let consumers choose to not receive pre-screened credit offers.
Today's Story
"My purse was stolen in December 1990. In February 1991, I started getting notices of bounced checks. About a year later, I received information that someone using my identity had defaulted on a number of lease agreements and bought a car. In 1997, I learned that someone had been working under my Social Security number for a number of years. A man had been arrested and used my SSN on his arrest sheet. There's a hit in the FBI computers for my SSN with a different name and gender. I can't get credit because of this situation. I was denied a mortgage loan, employment, credit cards, and medical care for my children. I've even had auto insurance denied, medical insurance and tuition assistance denied." - From a consumer complaint to the FTC, January 2, 2001
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