IRS mistakenly posts thousands of Social Security numbers on its website
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We all fear identity theft. It can destroy your financial life for years, and it seems that IRS and other governmental agencies are determined to keep posting your private information on the Internet. The issue of ID fraud is one of the main reasons that we began using encrypted portals to send data to our clients. Since it is a matter of when, not if, some folks will have their identity stolen, we offer the following tips on whom to call and what to do if you’re ever a victim of this crime.
[Editor’s Note: As with most crimes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Contact us if you’d like our list of suggestions for preventing ID theft.]
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT
Step One: Contact the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus:
- Experian (TRW) 888-397-3742
- TransUnion 800-680-7289
- Equifax 800-525-6285
Step Two: Contact the account issuer in question
- Ask for the fraud/security department of the compromised or fraudulent account issuer.
- Notify them by phone and in writing.
- Close all tampered or fraudulent accounts.
- Ask about secondary cards.
Step Three: Contact your local police department
- Notify the police department in the community where the identity theft occurred.
- Obtain copies of all police reports made.
Keep a detailed log of all contacts as you repair your credit history:
- Location called.
- Name of person(s) you spoke to.
- Title and call-back number with extension.
- Ask and write down what the procedures are for that entity.
Sample letters and forms to send to business and personal creditors (from the Federal Trade Commission’s website).
- Ask a Business to Remove Fraudulent Charges From Your Existing Accounts
- Ask a Business to Close a New Account Opened in Your Name
- Ask Credit Reporting Companies to Remove Fraudulent Errors on Your Credit Report
- Ask a Business to Block Information on Your Existing Account
- Ask a Business to Block Information on a New Account
- Ask a Credit Reporting Company to Block Information
- Get Copies of the Documents the Identity Thief Used
- Stop Calls and Letters From a Debt Collector
- Memo from FTC to Law Enforcement [PDF]
- Annual Credit Report Request [PDF]
- FTC Identity Theft Victim’s Complaint and Affidavit [PDF]
- Uniform Minor’s Status Declaration [PDF]
He is also a founding Board Member and Finance Director of the Fayette Pregnancy Resource Center and serves on the Board of the National Equal Rights Institute.