What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft is committed when someone steals your personal information -- such as your name, Social Security number and date of birth -- typically to hijack your credit and use it to open up new credit accounts, take out loans in your name or access your bank or retirement accounts.
Once an identity thief has access to your personal information, they can
- Open new credit card accounts with your name, Social Security number and date of birth. When the thief charges to the credit cards and leaves the bills unpaid, the delinquency will be reported to your credit report and could impact your credit score.
- Open a bank account in your name and write bad checks on the account.
- Create counterfeit checks or debit cards and use them to drain your existing bank accounts.
What Should You Do?
- File a police report with your local police department. Keep the report number.
- Contact each of your creditors on any account that might have been compromised.
- Contact ONE of the three credit reporting agencies to have a FRAUD ALERT placed on your credit report. The ONE agency is required to contact the other two agencies.
- Request a free credit report from each reporting agency and review it.
- Record all your actions to resolve this matter and send letters to all creditors involved.
- Know the difference between a Security Freeze or Lock on your credit report.
The Illinois Attorney General's Identity Theft Hotline also has trained advocates to help guide you through this process -- (866) 999-5630 or visit www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/hotline.
Credit Reporting Bureaus
- Equifax: (888) 548-7878; www.equifax.com; Equifax Disclosure Department, P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374
- Experian: (888) 397-3742; www.experian.com; P.O. Box 4500, Allen, TX 75013
- TransUnion: (800) 916-8800; www.transunion.com; P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
To file a police Identity Theft report, please call the Police Department's non-emergency number at (630) 543-3080.