Monitor Your Accounts and Credit Reports, and Notify Police and the FTC of Suspicious Activity:
When you receive account statements, credit reports, and monitoring alerts, review them carefully for unauthorized activity. Look for accounts you did not open, unauthorized purchases, inquiries from creditors that you did not initiate, and personal information that you do not recognize, such as a home address or Social Security number. If you have concerns, call your bank, the account provider, or the credit reporting agency. If possible, place a security verification secret word, similar to a password, on your accounts.
If you suspect any fraudulent activity or identity theft, promptly report it to local law enforcement authorities, your state attorney general, and/or the Federal Trade Commission. To file a complaint with the FTC, go to or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (877) 438-4338. Request copies of any police or investigation reports created, as you might need to provide this information to credit reporting agencies or to supposed creditors to clear up your records.
Obtain Free Credit Reports: Even if you do not find any signs of fraud on your reports, you should check your credit report regularly. There are three main credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Their contact information, along with contact information for the FTC and some state agencies, are on the reverse side of this tip sheet. Each credit reporting agency must provide you annually with a free credit report, at your request made to a single, centralized source for the reports, You are not required to order all three reports at the same time; instead, you may rotate your requests so that you can review your credit report on a regular basis. In addition, many states have laws that require the credit reporting agencies to provide you with a copy of your credit report, free of charge, whether or not you suspect any unauthorized activity on your account. 
Free Services by Credit Reporting Agencies:  Each credit reporting agency offers additional free services to help you protect your credit.  TransUnion at permits you to sign up for TrueIdentity which is a service that allows you to examine your TransUnion credit file and place a “credit lock” which prevents others from opening up credit in your name.  Experian at provides you with a free credit report every month when you select “Start with your free Experian Credit Report.” Equifax at permits you to sign up for “Lock & Alert" which also allows you to place a credit lock.
Fraud Alert: You may ask the credit reporting agencies to place "fraud alerts" in your file to let potential creditors and others know that you may be a victim of identity theft. A fraud alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you. It also may delay your ability to obtain credit. You may place a fraud alert in your file by calling just one of the three credit reporting agencies. As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it is supposed to notify the other two, which then also must place fraud alerts in your file. An initial fraud alert stays in your file for at least 90 days. An extended alert stays in your file for seven years. To place either of these alerts, a credit reporting agency will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number. If you ask for an extended alert, you will have to provide an identity theft report. An identity theft report includes a copy of a report you have filed with a federal, state, or local law enforcement agency.
Security Freeze: You also have the right to place a security freeze on your credit report at any of the three main credit reporting agencies. A security freeze is intended to prevent credit, loans and services from being approved in your name without your consent. To place a security freeze on your credit report, you may be able to use an online process, an automated telephone line, or a written request. If you choose to send a request to a consumer reporting agency by certified mail, overnight mail, or regular stamped mail, the following information must be included when requesting a security freeze: (1) full name, with middle initial and any suffixes; (2) Social Security number; (3) date of birth; (4) current address and any previous addresses for the past five years; and (5) any applicable incident report or complaint with a law enforcement agency. The request must also include a copy of a government-issued identification card and a copy of a recent utility bill or bank or insurance statement. It is essential that each copy be legible, and displays your name, current mailing address, and the date of issue. The consumer reporting agency may charge a fee of up to $5.00 to place a freeze or lift or remove a freeze, unless you are a victim of identity theft or the spouse of a victim of identity theft, and you have submitted a valid police report relating to the identity theft incident to the agency. The main three credit reporting agencies provide details about their security freeze services and state requirements at the following links: Internal Revenue Service: Tax-related identity theft is when someone uses your Social Security number to file a false tax return claiming a fraudulent refund. If you received IRS correspondence indicating you may be a victim of tax-related identity theft or your e-file tax return was rejected as a duplicate, do the following:
  • Submit an IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit, to the IRS;
  • Continue to file your tax return, even if you must do so by paper, and attach the Form 14039; and
  • Watch for any follow-up correspondence from the IRS and respond quickly.
 The fillable IRS Form 14039 is available at Follow the instructions exactly. You can fax or mail it or submit it with your paper tax return if you have been prevented from filing because someone else has already filed a return using your SSN. You only need to file it once. Do not respond to threats made over the phone or via email that the IRS will take action against you. The IRS will communicate with you in writing.
Financial Accounts, Oral Passwords, and MFA: If financial accounts are affected, contact the institution and ask them about steps you may take to further protect your account. Financial institutions will often permit you to place an oral password on your account or enable multifactor authentication to your online account. You also should implement multifactor authentication controls, when available, for personal accounts such as your email account, online banking, online bill pay services, and other accounts you intend to be secure. For more information about MFA, you can review various online explanations, including
Contact Information for the FTC, Credit Reporting Agencies, and State Consumer Protection Agencies: If you suspect fraudulent activity on any of your financial accounts (savings, checking, credit card) or identity theft, you are encouraged to report your concerns to your financial institutions and the relevant agencies below.
Federal Trade Commission
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580
1-877-IDTHEFT (877) 438-4338
Oregon Attorney General
Consumer Protection
1162 Court St. NE
Salem, OR 97301-4096
Washington Attorney General
Consumer Protection
800 5th Avenue, Suite 2000
Seattle, WA 98104-3188
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 2104
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 34012
Fullerton, CA 92834