If you are a victim of identity theft, take actions immediately to minimize damage to your credit record, and to ensure that you are not held responsible for debts which the identity thief incurred using your name. Keep a record of all correspondence and conversations with financial institutions and other companies, credit bureaus, and law enforcement officials. Send all correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested, to document what the company received and when. Keep copies of everything.

Close any problem accounts. Contact the credit card companies, banks, or any other creditors to close the accounts that you know have been tampered with or opened fraudulently

Review all credit, billing, and bank statements with great care after you have been the victim of identity theft, and report all questionable activities to the appropriate company or financial institution.

Who to Contact

Your Bank. You may learn that the identity thief has written checks in your name. If so, you need to alert your bank, and close your bank account. (Remember to discuss with your bank representative what to do about outstanding checks that have not yet been cashed.) Ask your bank to notify appropriate check verification services that you have been the victim of identity theft. Many retail stores use check verification systems, and you can alert check verification systems about the identity theft, and ask them to stop accepting checks in your name drawn on the account you are closing. The major check verification companies are:

  • CheckRite, (800) 766-2748
  • ChexSystems, (800) 428-9623 (closed checking accounts)
  • CrossCheck, (800) 552-1900
  • Equifax, (800) 437-5120
  • National Processing Co. (NPC), (800) 526-5380
  • SCAN, (800) 262-7771
  • TeleCheck, (800) 710-9898

Registry of Motor Vehicles. If you were issued a driver's license by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV), you may use the RMV's website for information about obtaining a new driver's license.

Social Security Administration. Contact the Social Security Administration to request a replacement card if your Social Security card was lost or stolen, or to request a new Social Security number in certain circumstances, or for help to correct your earnings records. You may also contact the Office of the Inspector General to report Social Security number misuse that involves buying or selling Social Security cards, or may involve people with links to terrorist groups or activities. To report fraud, contact the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

United States Postal Service. Notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service if you suspect that an identity thief has filed a change of your address with the post office. You will also need to notify your local postmaster to make sure that all mail in your name comes to your address.

Passport Services Office. If your passport was stolen, you should immediately report that your passport was stolen by completing a written form ( Statement Regarding Lost or Stolen Passport: DS-64) provided by the U.S. Department of State Passport Services Office. To obtain a new passport, you must also complete the Application for Passport: DS-11 and submit it in person. For instructions and to download these forms, visit the Passport Services Office website.

Cellular or Mobile Provider. If you discover fraudulent charges on your cell phone or mobile service bill, contact your provider immediately. You will probably need to close your accounts and open new ones. You may also want to request that a password be provided and required before any changes can be made to your accounts.