What Government Agencies Provide ID Theft Resources?
- U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC has helpful information about how to avoid and protect against ID theft. Write to: Consumer Response Center, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW, H-130, Washington, D.C. 20580. Call Toll-Free: 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338); or Visit: http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft
- State Attorney General Offices: You may contact the Attorney General’s office in the state in which you reside for more information about preventing and managing ID theft.
For IOWA Residents: You may contact local law enforcement or the Iowa Attorney General’s Office at 1305 E. Walnut St., Des Moines, IA 50319; Tel: (515) 281-5164; or http://www.iowa.gov/government/ag
For MARYLAND Residents: You may obtain information about preventing identity theft from the FTC or the Maryland Attorney General’s Office at 200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202; Tel: (888) 743-0023; or http://www.oag.state.md.us
For NEW MEXICO Residents: You have a right to place a security freeze on your credit report or submit a declaration of removal with a consumer reporting agency pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting and Identity Security Act. Please see below for more information on security freezes.
For NORTH CAROLINA Residents: You may obtain information about preventing identity theft from the FTC or the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office at 9001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-9001; Tel: (919) 716-6400; Fax: (919) 716-6750; or http://www.ncdoj.com
For RHODE ISLAND Residents: You may obtain information about preventing identity theft from the FTC or the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office at 150 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02903; Tel: (401) 274-4400; or http://www.riag.ri.gov
How Do I Get A Free Credit Report? You may obtain one (1) free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, and may purchase additional copies. Call Toll-Free: 1-877-322-8228; or Visit: https://www.annualcreditreport.com; or contact: Equifax, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 (800) 685-1111 (www.equifax.com); Experian P.O. Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013, (888) 397-3742 (www.experian.com) TransUnion, P. O. Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022, (800) 888-4213 (www.transunion.com).
What is a “Fraud Alert”? You may have the right to place a fraud alert in your file to alert potential creditors that you may be a victim of identity theft. Creditors must then follow certain procedures to protect you. You should know that a fraud alert may delay your ability to obtain credit. An “initial fraud alert” stays in your file for at least 90 days. An “extended fraud alert” stays in your file for 7 years, and will require an identity theft report, which is usually a filed police report. You may place a fraud alert by calling any one of the three national consumer reporting agencies: Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; Experian: 1-888-397-3742; TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
What is a “Security Freeze”? Certain U.S. state laws, including Massachusetts, allow a security freeze, which prevents approval for credit, loans or services in your name without your consent. A security freeze can interfere or delay your ability to obtain credit.
- To place a freeze, send a request by mail to each consumer reporting agency (addresses below) with the following (for each individual): (1) Full name, middle initial and any suffixes; (2) Social Security Number; (3) Date of Birth; (4) proof of current address (such as a utility bill or telephone bill) and list of previous addresses for past five years; (5) copy of government issued ID card, and (6) copy of police report, investigative report or complaint to law enforcement regarding ID theft. You may be charged a fee up to $5.00 to place, lift, and/or remove a freeze, unless you are a victim of ID theft or the spouse of a victim, and you have submitted a valid police report relating to the ID theft incident to the consumer reporting agency. The consumer reporting agencies have three business days after receiving your letter to place a security freeze on your credit report. The credit bureaus must also send written confirmation to you within five (5) business days and provide you a unique PIN or password that can be used by you to authorize the removal or lifting of the security freeze.
- To lift the security freeze to allow a specific entity or individual access to your credit report, you must call or send a written request to the consumer reporting agencies by mail and include proper identification (name, address, and SSN) and the PIN number or password provided to you when you placed the security freeze as well as the identities of entities or individuals you would like to receive your credit report or the specific period of time you want the credit report available. The consumer reporting agencies have three business days after receiving your request to lift the security freeze for the identified entities or specified time period.
- To remove the security freeze, you must send a written request to each of the three credit bureaus by mail and include proper identification (name, address, and SSN) and the PIN number or password provided to you when you placed the security freeze. The credit bureaus have three business days after receiving your request to remove the freeze. Equifax Security Freeze: P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, Georgia 30348; Experian Security Freeze: P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013; TransUnion (Fraud Victim Assistance Division): P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790.