Financial Education: Safe Credit

Protect Your Identity

Home |  Consumer Protection Laws |  Lending Laws |  When You Are Turned Down |  When You Are Approved |  Loan Scams |  Protect Your Identity |  Resources

If your wallet is lost or stolen, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) suggests you:

  1. File a report with the police as soon as possible. Keep a copy of the report in case your bank or insurance company needs proof of the crime.
  2. Cancel your credit cards immediately. Get new cards with different numbers.
  3. Report missing cards to the major credit reporting agencies:

  4. Equifax: 1-800-685-1111
    TransUnion: 1-800-888-4213
    Experian: 1-800-311-4769

  5. Report the loss to your bank. You might want to open new checking and savings accounts and stop payment on any lost checks.
  6. Contact the major check verification companies to request that they notify stores that use their databases not to accept these checks. You can also ask your bank to notify the check verification service with which it does business. Three of the check verification companies that accept reports of check fraud directly from consumers are:

  7. Telecheck: 1-800-710-9898
    International Check Services: 1-800-631-9656
    Equifax: 1-800-437-5120

  8. Get a new ATM card with a new number and password.

Even worse than getting your wallet stolen, however, is identity theft, or ID theft. There have been many cases of ID theft.

With ID theft, thieves take personal information about you, such as your Social Security number, credit card numbers or other information. They might take it from your wallet, purse, mailbox, trash or any other means.

The thieves might call your credit card companies and pretend to be you. They might ask to change the mailing address on your credit card account. Then they use your credit card number to charge goods and services.

They might even open a new credit card account using your name, birth date and Social Security number. If they use your name and Social Security number, the charges can show up as a delinquent account on your credit report since they will not pay the bill. The thieves could even open a bank account in your name and write bad checks.

How to reduce the risk of ID Theft:

The following points are recommendations from the Federal Trade Commission to minimize the risk of identity theft:

What to do if you are a victim of ID Theft:

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends the following actions if you believe you are a victim of identity theft. You can also call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).

Take action immediately! Keep records of your conversations and all correspondence.

  • Contact the fraud department of the three major credit reporting agencies. Tell them you are an identity theft victim. Ask them to place a "fraud alert" in your file. Ask for a copy of the credit report. They must give you a free copy of your report if it is inaccurate because of fraud.
  • Contact your creditors about any accounts that have been changed or opened fraudulently. Ask to speak with someone in the security or fraud department.
  • File a report with your local police. Get a copy of the police report so you have proof of the crime.

For more information regarding identity theft, visit the following Web sites: (you can also call 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) (you can also call 1-800-876-7060)