Identity Theft & Fraud
TransUnion’s Identity Theft Protection
and Recovery Guide
What is identity theft?
Identity theft happens when a criminal steals your personal information - including your name, address or credit card / bank account numbers - and uses it to commit fraud.
Every year, millions of Americans become victims of this crime. Identity theft can strike in seconds, at any time. And it can take months, sometimes years, to recover.
We are serious about helping you fight identity theft. TransUnion Credit Monitoring is an easy and effective tool you can use to help protect yourself. But there is more you can do, starting with the below tips.
7 ways you can protect against identity theft:
1Monitor your credit.
Review your credit report to identify suspicious credit account activity. Look for unauthorized address changes, new credit applications, and other signs of someone pretending to be you. Some credit monitoring services, like TransUnion Credit Monitoring, send you alerts of critical credit report changes so you can act right away.
2Read your account statements.
If statements from the bank, credit card company or other accounts do not arrive on time or have mistakes, contact the financial institution. Also let them know if you find any unauthorized withdrawals or charges.
3Do not respond to email, text or voicemail requests for personal information.
These are usually scams.
4Before throwing them away, shred documents showing sensitive (personal, financial or medical) information.
5Protect your computer.
Use anti-virus and anti-spyware software. Having a firewall is also a good idea.
6Create strong passwords
that include letters, numbers and special characters. Do not base the passwords on easily found information, like your birthday or place of birth.
7Shop or bank at encrypted online sites, especially when using public wireless networks.
Look for the "https" at the beginning of the Web address.
Source for sample letters: The Federal Trade Commission's Guide for Assisting Identity Theft Victims.
What to do if identity theft
happens to you.
If you are a victim of identity theft, you are not alone. As one of the three national credit reporting agencies and a trusted source of credit information, TransUnion recommends the below recovery plan.
Take these steps as soon as you learn your identity has been stolen:
- Place a fraud alert on your credit report. Contact one of the three national credit reporting agencies (information below) and ask that they place a fraud alert on your credit report. Whichever reporting agency you contact must contact the other two agencies so they can put fraud alerts on their credit reports.
This initial fraud alert lasts for at least 90 days. If you identify further fraudulent activity while the initial fraud alert is in effect, you may want to place an extended fraud alert on your credit reports.
- Request your credit reports. Once you have placed the fraud alert, you are entitled to a free credit report from each of the above three national credit reporting agencies.
- Review the credit reports. Look for accounts you did not open, debts you do not recognize and credit inquiries from companies you did not contact.
- Contact credit reporting agencies. Note any parts of the credit report you dispute and send a letter with this information to the reporting agency requesting that they correct the information. Keep a record of the letter. Get sample dispute letter text.
- Cancel any compromised accounts. For each disputed item, contact the fraud department of the bank, credit card company or other business to close or renumber your account. Get sample text for a letter to a debt collector, existing account-holder or new account-holder.
- Create an identity theft report. The identity theft report is actually two documents (FTC Affidavit & police report) requiring two steps: First, file a complaint with the FTC. Go to ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-438-4338 (TTY: 1-866-653-4261). Once you complete the process, you will have an FTC Affidavit. Second, show your FTC Affidavit to the police and file a police report. Keep a copy of it.
- Monitor your credit. Keep an eye on your credit for further suspicious activity or inaccuracies. Credit monitoring services, such as TransUnion Credit Monitoring, may make staying on top of your credit easier.
Fraud Victim Assistance Division
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19022
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241