Identity Theft Assistance
Victims: Things to Do
Resolving the consequences of identity theft is largely up to victims. Act quickly and assertively, and keep records/copies of all contacts and reports.
Immediate Steps to Take
- File a report with the police/sheriff in the jurisdiction in which you live and get a copy of the report for the credit reporting agencies, banks and credit card companies. You can file the report at the police station or file online.
- Cancel each credit, ATM, debit card. Promptly report lost or stolen credit, ATM and debit cards to the issuing bank within 60 days of your monthly statement to limit your liability for unauthorized charges or withdrawals. If reported within 60 days, your liability under federal law for unauthorized charges on these cards may range from $0 to $50, but possibly up to $500, depending upon the type of card, length of time taken in reporting the loss or theft, and the issuing bank. If the loss is reported beyond 60 days of the monthly statement you may be liable for more unauthorized charges or withdrawals from your ATM or debit cards. Beware of callers selling credit card protection—you don’t need this as long as you monitor your credit card statements for evidence of fraudulent activity.
- Contact your financial institution and cancel all accounts and PIN numbers. Stop payments on outstanding checks.
- Report the theft to the three major credit reporting agencies. Add a victim’s statement to your report, such as, “My identification has been used to apply for fraudulent credit. Contact me at (your telephone number or address) to verify ALL credit applications.”
- Consider placing a Security Freeze or Fraud Alert on/in your credit reports. See ‘Credit Reporting Agencies: Protecting Your Credit & Free Reports/Credit Report Freezes and Alerts’ below.
- Ask utility companies (especially cellular services) to watch for anyone ordering services in your name. If you have trouble with falsified accounts, contact the Colorado Public Utilities Commission at 303-894-2070, email dora_PUCfirstname.lastname@example.org, or go to https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/file-consumer-complaint
Assistance in Reporting or Responding to ID Theft
IdentityTheft.gov is the federal government’s one-stop resource for identity theft victims. The site provides streamlined checklists and sample letters to guide you through the recovery process. Go to https://www.identitytheft.gov/
If you create an account, the site will walk you through each recovery step, update your plan as needed, track your progress, and pre-fill forms and letters for you.
You may also simply browse the informational checklist of things to do if you are a victim or suspect you are a victim of identity theft.
Additional Resources for Reporting & Fighting ID Theft
Denver District Attorney’s Office
Report ID theft crime: 720-913-9179
Colorado Attorney General’s Office
Identity Theft Center: 800-222-4444
Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
24 Hour Identity Theft & Fraud Hotline at 1-855-443-3489
Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
Credit Reporting Agencies: Protecting Your Credit & Free Reports.
If you dispute credit report information, credit bureaus must resolve your dispute within 30 days and send you written notice of the results of the investigation, including a copy of the credit report, if it has changed.
Request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three credit reporting agencies (Social Security number will be required to obtain these reports). There are many websites that promise free credit reports. However, the best, truly free site is www.annualcreditreport.com, 877-322-8228.
Or mail a copy of the Annual Credit Request Form (found at www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/pdf-0093-annual-report-request-form.pdf) to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
You may also directly contact each of the major consumer reporting agencies below to request a free annual copy of your credit report.
P.O. Box 105788, Atlanta, GA 30348
P.O. Box 9554, Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19016
Credit Report Freezes and Alerts
Consider placing a Security Freeze or a Fraud Alert on your credit reports.
Security Freeze prohibits a consumer credit reporting agency from releasing information from your credit report without your prior written authorization, making it more difficult for unauthorized parties to open new accounts in your name. If your credit files are frozen, even someone who has your name and Social Security number will not be able to get credit in your name.
However, a security freeze may delay, interfere with, or prevent the timely approval of any requests you make for new loans, mortgages, employment, housing, or other services. The consumer reporting agencies have three business days after receiving a security freeze request to place a security freeze on your credit report. Unlike a fraud alert, you must separately place a credit freeze on your credit file at each consumer reporting company.
Fraud Alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because it tells creditors to follow certain procedures to protect you (but can also delay your ability to obtain credit). If you suspect you’re a victim of ID theft, you may place a fraud alert in your file by calling just one of the consumer credit reporting agencies. As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other agencies, which then must also place the fraud alerts in your file. An initial fraud alert will last 90 days. An extended alert stays in your file for seven years. To place either of these alerts, a consumer reporting agency will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include your Social Security number.
You can obtain information from the FTC at www.ftc.gov and the consumer credit reporting agencies about adding Fraud Alerts and Security Freezes to your credit reports.
To put a fraud alert or security freeze on your credit reports, contact the major credit reporting agencies (see Credit Reporting Agencies above).
Security Freeze FAQs
Yes. Different credit issuers may use different credit bureaus.
Yes, if you want to open a new credit account, you can lift the freeze for a specific creditor or period of time. When you freeze your files, you will receive a unique PIN from each of the agencies as well as how to lift the freeze. You can lift the freeze by phone using your PIN and proper identification.
The initial security freeze is free of charge; however, the temporary or permanent removal of the freeze may cost up to $10 per agency.
Credit bureaus must place the freeze no later than five business days after receiving your written request. A freeze must be lifted no later than three business days after receiving your request.
A creditor will see a message or a code indicating that the file is frozen and will not be able to get your credit score.
Yes, free credit reports from each credit bureau are available every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com or 1-877-322-8228, or directly contact each of the three consumer credit report agencies.
ID Theft Victims—Clearing A False Identity Criminal Record
If your identity has been used by another in the commission of a crime, you may have a criminal record and an arrest warrant may have been issued in your name. Under section 16-5-103, C.R.S., a Motion may be filed with the Court to determine factual innocence for a person whose identifying information has been mistakenly associated with an arrest, summons, summons and complaint, felony complaint, information, indictment, or conviction--a means for an identity theft victim to clear his or her record of wrongful criminal charges. The process requires the victim to petition the court for a finding of “Factual Innocence.”
If you are the victim of identity theft and your identity has been used in the commission of a crime, contact the District Attorney’s Office in the jurisdiction where charges have been filed and ask to speak to the prosecutor who has been assigned to the case. To learn more about this process and to obtain copies of the judicial forms needed to petition the court, go to www.courts.state.co.us, Colorado Judicial Branch/Self Help Forms/All Court Forms and Instructions/Identity Theft; or directly to: https://www.courts.state.co.us/Forms/Forms_List.cfm?Form_Type_ID=36