Responding to Identity Theft
Resources for Victims of Identity Theft
If you find or even suspect that your personal identifying information has been misused by someone without your consent, you may be the victim of identity theft. If this happens, act immediately. When it comes to identity theft, the sooner you act, the more likely you are to get help in stopping or minimizing the damage.
TIP: Nearly half of all identity theft occurs when a wallet or purse is missing or stolen.
Step 1: Report Identity Theft to the O’Fallon Police Department
Report your problem to the O’Fallon Police Department if you live within City limits or if the crime occurred in the City of O’Fallon. (If the crime occurred elsewhere, be sure to report the incident to local law enforcement where the crime occurred.) To contact the O’Fallon Police Department, call the Non-Emergency Line at 636-240-3200.
- Get a copy of the police report so you can submit duplicates to your bank and the credit-reporting bureaus.
Step 2: Also report the problem on the Missouri Attorney General’s Office (AGO) website
The Attorney General’s Office has set up a hotline to help you recognize and report identity theft. Complaint investigators also will provide advice on what to do next. Call the hotline toll-free at 1-800-392-8222.
Step 3: Alert your bank and credit card issuers
- Request an “account number change” for your legitimate credit card(s).
- Don’t close legitimate accounts or you risk sending the wrong message and damaging your credit score. Instead, request new account numbers, PINs, ATM cards, and change all your passwords, and get a new checking account number if your checkbook is missing
Step 4: Contact each of the three credit bureaus
- Request your credit report and review it for accounts you didn't open, debts you didn't know about, inquiries from companies you don't know and other inaccurate information.
- Also place a “fraud alert” or “security freeze” on your file or credit report. The fraud alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they can open new accounts in your name or make changes to existing accounts. Fraud alerts are free. Security freezes are reportedly more secure and sometimes they are free for people 65 and older.
- Cancel any accounts you did not open.
- Equifax – 800-525-6285 (report fraud)
- Experian – 888-397-3742 (toll free)
- Trans Union – 800-680-7289 (report fraud)
Step 5: Complete a “Victim's Complaint and Affidavit” with the Federal Trade Commission FTC
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (or call 877-438-4338 toll-free). Complete a Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit by going to ftc.gov/idtheft and using the affidavit provided to support your written statement.
- Then use the FTC affidavit to alert your bank and other agencies
- Dispute any fraudulent charges or accounts; click these links to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office for:
- Block any fraudulent information from your credit report
- Keep track of your actions and save copies of all your correspondence
Step 6: Contact the Social Security Administration if your Social Security number has been used by someone; call the Social Security Administration Fraud Line at 800-269-0271
Preventing identity theft
It can take months, even years, to resolve identity theft and you may not be able to recover any money involved. So take a few minutes now to protect yourself with these simple precautions.
Remove these items from your wallet or purse: Your Social Security card, blank checks, notes with your PINS or passwords for online accounts and bank cards, and spare home or car keys. Make and carry a copy of your Medicare card with the last four numerals of your ID number cut out. (Remember to bring your original card to doctor’s appointments.)
Photocopy (front and back) all the cards you keep in your wallet or purse, like your driver’s license, credit and insurance cards, library card, etc. and file the copy at home. This will provide you with a list of all your account numbers, credit card information security and contact information, etc.
Check the FTC’s website for identity theft prevention tips at the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft Site
The Missouri Attorney General’s Office (AGO) website also offers helpful information to prevent identity theft as well as links to report and resolve an ID theft.