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Prevent Identity Theft by Checking Your Credit Report

One of the first steps to prevent identity theft is to keep tabs of your credit report. You can keep tabs on your credit report by ordering a free copy of your credit report once a year.

You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year from the three major credit reporting companies. These companies are: Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. his free service is provided under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT). It is in response to the raising number of identity thief reported in the U.S.

What do the Major Credit Reporting Companies do?

Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union maintain a profile of your credit score, your credit history, what types of credit you have, how you pay your bills, what type of mortgage loan you qualify for and whether you've been sued or filed for bankruptcy.

How will a Free Credit Report Help Prevent Identity Theft?

A credit report you help you spot identity theft by letting you to see a list of all credit accounts open in your name. Viewing your report regularly will help you determine if you have been a victim of identity theft.

The best way to make the most of this free credit report opportunity is by ordering a credit report from one of the three credit companies every three-four months. In that way you can monitor your credit regularly at no cost.

What to do if you are a Victim of Identity Theft?

  1. Place a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Report
    • Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name.
    • Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too.
    • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374- 0241
    • Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013
    • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
  2. Close the Fraudulent Account
    • Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing, and include copies of supporting documents.
  3. File a Police Report
  4. File a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
  5. File an Identity Theft Report
    • The identity theft report must be filled with a local, state, or federal law enforcement agency, like your local police department, your State Attorney General, the FBI, the U.S. Secret Service, the FTC, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

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