Recognize Common Scams
Though scams differ, they all have the same objective: to convince victims to send money or allow access to their financial accounts. You can help protect yourself from fraud and scams by familiarizing yourself with the many ways in which fraud can appear in your account, email, phone, or your computer.
Fraud and Identity Theft Reporting
Did you find a strange transaction on your card statement or receive medical bills for a doctor you never visited? If you suspect you're a victim of identity theft, find out what to do next and how we can help you prevent any further damage.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of identity theft or another scam, the first step is to put a fraud alert on your credit file with all three credit-reporting agencies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Placing a fraud alert is free. The initial fraud alert stays on your credit report for 90 days. Record the dates you communicate with the credit reporting agencies and keep copies of your correspondence on file. If needed, you can renew the alert after 90 days.
After you place a fraud alert on your credit reports, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report from each credit reporting company. Read the reports; check to see if your name, address, Social Security number, accounts, and other information are correct.
An Identity Theft Report will help you resolve problems with credit reporting companies, debt collectors, and businesses that allowed the identity thief to open new accounts in your name. The Report can help you:
- Get fraudulent information permanently removed from your credit report
- Prevent a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft or selling the debts to others for collection
- Get an extended fraud alert put on your credit report
If the report shows accounts you did not open or debts that are not yours, contact the credit reporting companies to report the fraud and have them corrected. You may want to contact the security or fraud department of each company where an account was misused or opened without your permission, too. Ask the company to send you proof that they corrected or closed the problem accounts.
File an identity theft complaint with the FTC online at http://ftc.gov/idtheft or by phone at 1.877.438.4338. Take your completed FTC identity theft affidavit to your local police, or the police where the theft occurred, to file a police report. Get a copy of the police report or the report number. Your FTC identity theft affidavit plus your police report makes an Identity Theft Report. Send copies to companies where you report fraud. Ask them to remove or correct fraudulent information in your accounts.
Find resources to help if you feel as though your identity or security has been compromised.