Identity theft

Learn how to report identity theft and fraud.
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Report identity theft or fraud FAQs

While dealing with identity theft and fraud is stressful, reporting it is simple. Reporting can help the associated agencies be aware of current scam and fraud schemes and reporting can help protect your information in the future. The Federal Trade Commission will also provide you with a recovery plan.

How do I report identity theft?

If you know you have been a victim of identity theft you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or by phone. If you report ID theft to the FTC you'll receive a theft report and a recovery plan.

Other agencies you may need to contact include:

  • Medicare Fraud Office or your health insurance provider for medical ID theft
  • Internal Revenue Service for tax fraud
  • The three credit reporting agencies
  • Your credit card companies
  • Your bank or loan companies
  • Your state Consumer Protection Office
  • Retail store card companies
  • Office of the Inspector General for Social Security fraud
  • Department of Justice's Elder Justice for elder abuse

Do I need to file a police report?

You may need to file a police report if you know the person who stole your identity, the thief used your name with law enforcement officers, or if a creditor or other company has asked for a police report.

How do I place a fraud alert on my credit report?

If you have been a victim of ID theft or fraud, you can place a fraud alert with the three credit reporting agencies. A fraud alert simply notifies anyone looking at your report that they you may have been a victim of ID theft or fraud and that they should perform extra vetting to verify your credit.

There are two type of fraud alerts -- initial fraud alert and extended fraud alerts. Initial lasts for 90 days and extended can last up to seven years.

To place a fraud alert you need to contact one of the three credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can contact them online or by telephone. They will help you place a fraud alert through their agency. The reporting agency you contact will tell the other two agencies that they need to place an alert as well. After you file your fraud alert you have rights to a free copy of your credit report.

How do I report suspected fraud?

How you report suspected fraud often depends on the type of fraud or scam you need to report. If you are not sure who to report to, the United States Department of Justice can connect you to the right agency.

If you are a victim of fraud or a scam, even if you are embarrassed, it is best to report it so you can help bring awareness to the scam.

Common types of fraud and scams:

  • Charity scams (including by mail and online)
  • Dating (usually online)
  • Debt relief
  • Government grants
  • International financial
  • IRS (often by telephone)
  • Employment (don't share Social Security or credit card numbers with "employers")
  • Debt collection agencies
  • Tech support or computer security