The Information below is published on the Web site of the U.S. Secret Service.

          What to do if you have been the victim of credit card fraud or identity theft:

  1. If your complaint is essentially a non-criminal dispute with a retailer or other business, you must immediately dispute the charge(s) in writing with the customer relations office of your credit card company.

  2. If you have been the victim of credit card fraud or identity theft, the following tips will assist you:

       

    • Report the crime to the police immediately. Get a copy of your police report or case number. Credit card companies, your bank, and the insurance company may ask you to reference the report to verify the crime.

    • Immediately contact your credit card issuers. Get replacement cards with new account numbers and ask that the old account be processed as "account closed at consumerís request" for credit record purposes. You should also follow up this telephone conversation with a letter to the credit card company that summarizes your request in writing.

    • Call the fraud units of the three credit reporting bureaus. Report the theft of your credit cards and/or numbers. Ask that your accounts be flagged. Also, add a victimís statement to your report that requests that they contact you to verify future credit applications. The following is a list of addresses and numbers to the three credit bureaus:


    Equifax Credit Information Services - Consumer Fraud Div.
    P.O. Box 105496
    Atlanta, Georgia 30348-5496
    Tel: (800) 997-2493
    www.equifax.com

    Experian
    P.O. Box 2104
    Allen, Texas 75013-2104
    Tel: (888) EXPERIAN (397-3742)
    www.experian.com

    Trans Union Fraud Victim Assistance Dept.
    P.O. Box 390
    Springfield, PA 19064-0390
    Tel: (800) 680-7289
    www.transunion.com


    • Keep a log of all conversations with authorities and financial entities.

    • As with any personal information, only provide your credit card number to merchants you know. Also, remember to protect your social security number. You have to give your social security number for employment and tax purposes, but it is not necessary for many businesses. Notify the Social Security Administrationís Office of Inspector General if your social security number has been used fraudulently.

    • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal clearinghouse for complaints by victims of identity theft. Although the FTC does not have the authority to bring criminal cases, the Commission assists victims of identity theft by providing them with information to help them resolve the financial and other problems that can result from identity theft. The FTC also may refer victim complaints to other appropriate government agencies and private organizations for further action. If you have been a victim of identity theft, you can file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC's Consumer Response Center.

By Phone:

Toll-free 877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)
TDD 202-326-2502

By Mail:

Consumer Response Center
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20580

On the Web:

www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm

For Consumer Information:

www.ftc.gov/ftc/consumer.htm