Identity Theft - Response Checklist

STEP ONE: Notify Credit Bureaus

There are three major credit bureaus in the United States:  Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  If you are the victim of Identity Theft, contact the fraud department of each credit bureau and request a "Fraud Alert" be placed in your file.  Also ask that a "Victim's Statement" asking that you be notified by creditors prior to changes in your existing accounts or opening new ones.

You'll also need to order credit reports from each credit bureau and review them carefully for additional fraudulent accounts.  The fraud alerts and victim's statements are voluntary services and creditors are not required to consider them when granting credit.  This is one reason you should continue to check credit reports periodically.  Most experts suggest checking your credit report at least once a year.

Credit Bureau Contact Information

STEP TWO: Closing Accounts

Immediately contact your bank and ask them to flag your account and contact you to confirm any unusual activity.  Contact credit card companies and notify them as well.  Close any account that has been tampered with or fraudulently opened.  When you open new accounts use new PIN numbers or passwords and stop payment on any stolen checks.  In the case of stolen checks, also ask your bank to notify their check verification service to notify merchants not to accept the checks.

You may us the standardized ID Theft Affidavit developed by a representative group of credit grantors, consumer advocates and the Federal Trade Commission to notify companies affected by the identity theft.  The affidavit is in two parts; the ID Theft Affidavit for general information about yourself and the theft, and the Fraudulent Account Statement where you describe the accounts in question.  You should use a separate Account Statements for each company you notify.  

STEP THREE: File a Report

File a report with your local police agency or the agency in the community where the identity theft took place and file a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission.  The District Delayed Crimes Investigation Unit handles identity theft cases for Tampa Police cases and should be contacted if Tampa is the jurisdiction of the complaint.  Here are some tips to aid us in helping you:

  • Its important to keep accurate and complete records.  This alone dramatically improves the likelihood of resolving your identity theft case.

  • Keep copies of all correspondence or forms you send and use certified mail, return receipt requested when appropriate.

  • Write down the name of anyone you speak with along with the date of the conversation and what you were told.

  • Set up a filing system to organize and allow for easy access to your paperwork.

  • Even after the case is "closed" you should keep your documentation because errors can reappear in credit reports or your information could be re-circulated.

  • The more information law enforcement has, the better we are able to conduct investigations.

  • The Federal Trade Commission's booklet, "Identity Theft:  When Bad Things Happen To Your Good Name," is an excellent resource and available online at the FTC's Website: