Contact Your Bank Immediately
Your accounts can be frozen and transactions can be tracked. The sooner the bank has a record of the incident, the better. In the case of Columbia Bank, as soon as you contact us, we will involve our Security Department in your case. Ask the bank(s) to flag your account.
Set up a Folder to Keep a Detailed History of the Crime
Include a log of every action you take, copies of all correspondence and/or forms you receive or send, names and contact information or everyone you contact as well as all information surrounding the contact—date, time of day and resulting action or activity. This process can be overwhelming and the more organized you are from the beginning, the easier and less confusing it will be. Keep track of the financial loss to you. Keep all supporting documents.
Report the Identity Theft to the Authorities (Police or Sheriff) in Your Area
File a police report and obtain a case number. Be persistent about getting a case number because it can be of tremendous help to you in correcting your credit rating. ID theft is a felony and charges may be filed against the thief in the county where you live. The Washington State Patrol Identity Theft Unit has statewide jurisdiction to file charges for ID theft.
Contact All Creditors
Do this by phone and in writing (save copies of the letters) to be sure they are properly informed. This includes: the power company, phone company, garbage collection, cable or satellite television provider, Internet provider, landlord, mortgage company, credit card issuer, etc. Contact anyone you pay a bill to or obtain a service from. Wherever possible ask to speak to the company's fraud department. They may advise you to close your account(s) and open a new one(s). Be sure to ask your bank what their procedures are for re-establishing account relationships in cases where automatic payment was being used.
Contact the Three Major Credit Reporting Agencies
Contact the fraud department at each agency to report the identity theft. Ask for a "Fraud Alert Victim Impact" statement to be placed in your credit file asking that creditors call you before opening any new accounts. (Each agency will need the police report/case number to activate the fraud alert.) Request that a copy of your credit report be sent to you.
The FTC is the national clearing house for complaints by victims of identity theft. The FTC helps victims by providing information to help resolve financial and other problems that can result from identity theft. Their hotline is 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) The FTC also provides a uniform ID Theft Affidavit that is accepted and endorsed by many businesses. It also provides a form to report the identity theft to the FTC.
Ask Businesses to Provide You with Information About Transactions Made in Your Name
The Washington State Identity Theft Law requires businesses to provide information about transactions made in your name. However, they may require proof of your identity, including a copy of the police report and your fingerprints. If you need to obtain your fingerprints for this purpose, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) Identification Section provides this service. A small fee is involved and fingerprint cards maybe obtained from your local law enforcement department. For more information, contact the WSP Identification Section at 360-705-5100.
If you have any checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, immediately report it to these agencies:
- National Check Fraud Service: 843-571-2143
- SCAN: 1-800-262-7771
- TeleCheck: 1-800-710-9898
- CheckRite: 1-800-766-2748
- ChexSystems: 1-800-842-5880
- International Check Services: 1-800-526-5380
Contact Social Security
The Social Security Administration’s fraud hotline is 1-800-269-0271.
Contact the State Office of the Department of Motor Vehicles
Contact the DMV to see if another license was issued in your name. If so, request a new license and fill out the DMV's complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process.
This law will help reduce identity theft. For example, one provision requires the three major credit reporting agencies to provide consumers with a free copy of their own credit report. This requirement was put in effect throughout the U.S. as of September 2005.
Another provision to help prevent identity theft is the National Fraud Alert System. Consumers who reasonably expect that they have been or may be a victim of identity theft (or who are military personal on active duty away from home) can place an alert on their credit files. The alert will put potential creditors on notice that they must proceed with caution when granting credit.
Other measures that will help consumers recover their credit reputation:
- Credit reporting agencies must stop reporting allegedly fraudulent account information when a consumer establishes that he or she has been a victim of identity theft.
- Creditors or businesses must provide copies of business records or fraudulent accounts or transactions related to them. This information can assist victims in proving they are, in fact, victims.
- Consumers will be allowed to report accounts affected by identity theft directly to creditors—in addition to credit reporting agencies—to prevent the spread of erroneous information.
Information on this page compiled from the Washington State Patrol and the American Bankers Association.