When identity theft occurs, or you think it may have happened, taking action right away is the most important step you can take to protect yourself from long-term damage. Having identity theft protection may make this easier to do. However, once you believe someone has accessed and used your personal information without your knowledge, it’s time to act. Consider these identity theft phone numbers, the people you need to call as soon as possible to begin the process of restoring your information.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
If you believe your Social Security Number of any other component of your identity has been accessed, you need to contact the IRS as soon as possible, especially if there are tax-related concerns. In fact, for some people, the first information they have about this occurring comes from the IRS through a notice sent to you. Do this if:
- More than one tax return was filed using your information.
- You owe the IRS or have legal action pending against you from the IRS, but the information is inaccurate.
- Records show you were paid more than you actually were.
The IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit is available at 800-908-4490. You can also fill out Form 14029 from the IRS.
The Social Security Administration also needs to be contacted. This is important to do if someone seems to be using your Social Security Number for employment or identification purposes. If you receive a call from the Social Security Administration claiming that someone has accessed your information – be warned. These are scammers. Do not provide them with any information. Hang up and dial the organization yourself from the phone number for your local Social Security office or by calling: 1-800-772-1213. Never provide information over the phone to anyone unless you’ve called and confirmed their identification.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
The FTC is the go-to source for reporting identity theft when it comes to getting help to resolve the financial implications of such events. This agency works to gather information and then can help you to determine if someone is using your information. They can also help you to develop a recovery plan for getting yourself back on track. You should contact the FTC if:
- You believe someone is using your credit to make purchases.
- You think someone is trying to collect benefits using your Social Security Number or personal information.
- You believe someone is opening new accounts in your name.
Start off by calling 1-877-438-4338. You can also IdentityTheft.gov, the FTC’s website for identity theft that allows you to report a theft right online. In some cases, this can be faster for those who don’t want to wait on the phone.
Credit Bureau Phone Numbers for Identity Theft
Now that you have the FTC involved, you need to alert the credit bureaus of what is happening. Here, the goal is to get any information about fake accounts off your credit reports. The process takes some time, so the sooner you request help, the better the process will be for you. You should contact the credit bureaus (there are three of them) individually if you suspect any information on your credit file is inaccurate. This includes situations such as:
- You’ve found an account on your credit report that is not your own.
- You’ve been alerted by your credit monitoring tools that someone has applied for credit that you did not authorize to do so.
- You have fake identification information on your credit report (your name, address, or place of business isn’t accurate).
To call the credit bureaus for identity theft, contact each of the following. Do this with each agency even if you only see inaccurate information on one report. You want to be sure it does not show up on others later.
- Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
- Experian: 1-888-397-3742
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
In addition to this, you can visit each of the websites for these credit bureaus and file a claim for inaccurate information. Be proactive about checking your report to make sure inaccurate information is removed.
Bank Identity Theft Phone Numbers
Let your bank know as soon as you notice any activity that is not accurate on your bank accounts or statements. If you have any type of information that is not accurate with your accounts, visit your local branch in person if it is possible to do so. Bring along any proof you have.
You can also contact them over the phone. It is important to do so if:
- There are charges on your account you did not make.
- You found out someone tried to open an account with your information through that bank.
- You received notice about loan applications made in your name that are not accurate.
Again, contact your bank directly. Here are some phone numbers of the largest U.S. banks:
- Bank of America: ID Fraud Prevention – 800-432-1000
- Chase: Identity Theft Tool Kit – 1-888-745-0091
- Citi: Identity Theft Solutions – 1-800-950-5114
- Morgan Stanley: Cybersecurity and Fraud Protection – 888-454-3965
- PNC: Fraud Reporting – 1-888-PNC-BANK
- Wells Fargo: Identification Theft Protection – 1-877-224-4480
It’s always a good idea to visit a local bank that you belong to about these situations since they can often stop payment and look into transactions right away. If this is a bank that you don’t have an account with, call the phone number provided.
Resources to Help You with Identity Theft
Protecting yourself from identity theft is an ongoing process. Always work to keep your information protected. If you’re unsure about what steps you should take, consider these additional resources. These are all government-based websites that are safe to use. Always use your own internet connection when providing any information about your identity.
- IRS’s Identity Protection Tips and Resources
- IRS’s Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft
- Equifax’s website to file a claim Equifax.com
- Experian’s website to file a claim: Experian.com
- TransUnion’s website to file a claim: TransUnion.com
- FTC’s Credit Report Tools
- AnnualCreditReport.com – The only website approved by the U.S. government to gain access to a free credit report from each of the credit bureaus one time each year.
- USA.gov website for Identity Theft and data breach concerns