Pretexting: if you think you're a victim
If you think you’ve been a victim of pretexting, the FTC recommends that you:
- Report it to your financial institution immediately. Close accounts that have been tampered with and open new ones with new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords.
- Contact the fraud departments at one of the three major credit reporting companies immediately. Tell them to flag your file with a fraud alert including a statement that creditors should get your permission before opening any new accounts in your name. The company you contact will transmit your request to the other two.
- Equifax: call: 1-800-525-6285 and write: P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
- Experian: call: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742) and write: P.O. Box 949, Allen, TX 75013-0949
- Trans Union: call: 1-800-680-7289 and write: Fraud Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634
- Contact your local police as soon as possible, and ask to file a report. Even if the police can’t catch the pretexter, having a police report can help you in clearing up your credit records later on. Contact the Federal Trade Commission as soon as possible. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338), or use the complaint form at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
- The FTC enters Internet, tele-marketing, identity theft and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, file a complaint with the FTC by contacting the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline by telephone: toll-free 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338); TDD: 202-326-2502; by mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580; or online: www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
The FTC has published a free booklet, Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft. This comprehensive guide includes information on what consumers can do to reduce their risk of ID theft; how consumers can protect their personal information; the steps consumers can take if they do become victims of ID theft; and a directory of government resources available to ID theft victims. For your copy, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft.