Don’t be a victim. Protect your identity

Identity theft is an increasingly common crime and can occur without your knowledge. It can take several years for identity theft victims to clear their names causing havoc to your credit score. This page contains advice on how to minimize your risk for identity theft, or what to do if you think you may already be a victim. The California Legislature works hard to safeguard your personal information, increase consumer protections, and assist victims with available services.

If you need further assistance in dealing with government agencies of identifying resources, please call (916) 670-7888.

Report Any Credit Fraud To The Three Major Credit Bureaus Below:

Equifax
To order report: 800-685-1111
To report fraud: 800-525-6285
www.equifax.com

Experian
To order report and to report fraud:
888-397-3742
www.experian.com

Trans Union
To order report: 800-888-4213
To report fraud: 800-680-7289
www.transunion.com

Check Verification Companies
Chexsystems: 800-428-9623
Telecheck: 800-710-9898

Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline
877-ID-THEFT (438-4338)
www.ftc.gov/idtheft

California Attorney General’s Office
Toll Free: 800-952-5225
www.oag.ca.gov

California Attorney General’s Office, Privacy Enforcement and Protection
www.privacy.ca.gov

To Order Free Credit Reports:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
Toll Free: 877-322-8228
www.annualcreditreport.com

Tips

Protecting yourself from identity theft:

  1. Keep your Social Security Number (SSN) in a safe place.
  2. Only give your SSN out when you know it is required (tax forms, employment records, most banking, stock, and property transactions).
  3. Read the fine print on applications and order forms. You may be given additional privacy protection or have it taken away in almost unreadable text.
  4. Do not send sensitive personal information (phone number, password, address, credit card number, SSN) by chat lines, e-mail, forum postings, or in your online biography. Assume your communications are not private unless encrypted. Shred all unwanted pre-approved credit card offers.
  5. Get your name off mailing lists for pre-approved credit offers by notifying the three primary credit bureaus.
  6. Have a locked mailbox at your residence to reduce mail theft.
  7. Tell businesses and organizations which have access to your personal information that you do not want it shared, sold, or otherwise released.
  8.  Pick up your new checks from the bank. Checks delivered to your home mailbox can be stolen by watchful predators.
  9. Mail all bill payments in drop boxes or at the post office. Thieves can steal bill payments left in home mailboxes for letter carriers.
  10. Order your credit report once a year from the three credit bureaus to check for inaccuracies and fraudulent use of your accounts.
  11. Be careful not to toss credit or bank card receipts in a public trash container.
  12.  Carefully review your credit card statements and phone bills for unauthorized use.
  13. Do not carry your Social Security card or number, passport or birth certificate.
  14. Ask your bank to add extra security protection to your account. Most will allow you to use an additional password when accessing your account.

If you are a victim of identity theft:

  1. Report the crime to the police immediately and get a copy of the police report. These can be used to obtain and correct credit reports and other affected information.
  2. Close your credit card accounts and request they be processed as “account closed at the customer’s request” instead of “lost or stolen.” This will not reflect negatively on your credit report. Follow up with a written request.
  3. Call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies and ask that all your accounts be flagged with a notice that you should be contacted to verify any new credit applications.
  4. Notify your bank of the theft and change all account numbers. Also, request that the bank assign you a secret password to be used in all future transactions.
  5. If your Social Security number has become associated with bad credit, you may want to have your SSN changed.
  6.  Keep a log of all contacts you make in the resolution of your theft.