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Identity Theft and How to Handle It

  • Posted on August 02, 2023

Key Takeaways:

  • Scammers steal identifies to help them commit financial fraud or other crimes.
  • Signs you may be a victim include charges on your credit cards you didn’t make and mail about accounts you didn’t open.
  • If you think someone has stolen your identity, address it right away. Let your financial institutions know, change your passwords, and contact the three credit report bureaus.

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personal or financial information to commit fraud or other crimes. They may gain unauthorized access to your Social Security number, credit or debit cards, passport, checks, driver’s license, or other sensitive information.


Watch for these signs of identity theft:

  • Your bank account has been drained
  • You have charges on your debit or credit cards that you did not authorize
  • You receive mail for accounts you did not open
  • You experience a sudden drop in your credit score
  • Your application for credit was denied
  • Your checks are bouncing when you know you have sufficient funds
  • You are notified that your information was compromised or part of a data breach
  • Mail comes to your address but is in someone else’s name
  • Debt collectors are suddenly reaching out to you
  • You are not able to log in to your online accounts
  • You receive an unexpected multifactor authentication request
  • You are missing mail


If you think you are a victim of identity theft, act quickly. Take the following steps:

  1. Change your online passwords
  2. Enable multifactor authentication for your accounts (a second layer of security such as requiring a code via text before you can access your account)
  3. Review your financial statements
  4. Alert your financial institutions
  5. Review your credit reports by visiting to check for errors
  6. Contact the three credit bureaus to correct errors and consider placing a security freeze on your accounts so that no one can open new accounts using your information.
  • 1-888-909-8872
  • 1-888-EXPERIAN (888-397-3742)
  • 1-800-685-1111

Also, be sure to review your consumer identity theft rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

      7. Contact law enforcement to file a police report
      8. Report the crime to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at or to the Federal Trade Commission at
      9. Contact the appropriate companies and close all illegally opened accounts in your name       10. Respond to debt collectors using this template from the FTC


For more information, visit:


Content provided by the American Bankers Association.

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