Identity Theft

What to do if someone steals your ID

Identity Theft: Useful Information

A Publication of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

23. Dealing with emotional stress.

Psychological counseling may help you deal with the stress and anxiety commonly experienced by victims. Know that you are not alone. Contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for information on how to network with other victims and deal with the impact of this crime.

24. Making change.

Write to your state and federal legislators. Demand stronger privacy protection and prevention efforts by creditors and credit bureaus.

25. Don't give in.

Do not pay any bill or portion of a bill that is a result of fraud. Do not cover any checks that were written or cashed fraudulently. Do not file for bankruptcy. Your credit rating should not be permanently affected. No legal action should be taken against you. If any merchant, financial company or collection agency suggests otherwise, restate your willingness to cooperate, but don't allow yourself to be coerced into paying fraudulent bills. Report such attempts to government regulators immediately.

26. Other Useful Tips

If you are in the military, place an active duty alert on your credit report.

When you are away from your usual duty station, you can place an active duty alert on your three credit reports as an extra protection against identity theft. The alert remains on your credit reports for 12 months. Contact the fraud departments for the three credit bureaus. Those phone numbers are provided in Section 1 above.

Order your free credit report

Whether or not you are a victim of identity theft, take advantage of your free annual credit reports, now a requirement of federal law.

Opt out of pre-approved offers of credit for all three credit bureaus

  •  Call (888) 5OPTOUT (888-567-8688). You may choose a five-year opt-out period or permanent opt-out status.
  •  Or opt-out online,

Remove your name from mail marketing lists (Direct Marketing Association)

  •  Write: Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512. Include check or money order for $1.
  •  Web: There is no charge when registering online.

Remove your phone number(s) from telemarketing lists

  •  Phone the FTC’s Do Not Call Registry: (888) 382-1222
  •  Online registration:

Order your earnings report from the Social Security Administration

  •  Order your Personal Earnings and Benefits Estimate Statement if you suspect an identity thief has used your SSN for employment: (800) 772-1213. The SSA automatically mails it to individuals three months before the birthday each year.
  •  For information on reporting fraud to the SSA, read tip 12.

Check your ID Score

  •  Track the possible misuse of your identity at the free service My ID Score, .



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