Assemblywoman Millman
Joan L.

credit cards
A Guide to Identity Theft
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What To Do If You Have Been Victimized

Assemblywoman Millman

Dear Friend,

Do you know what the fastest growing financial crime is in the United States? The correct answer is identity theft, costing up to $53 billion a year. If someone uses your credit-card information, Social Security number, bank account or other personal data, you have joined the growing number of identity theft victims.

I have prepared a pamphlet to provide the information you need to restore your good name and financial health if you become a victim. If you would like additional copies of this brochure, or if you have any questions or comments, please let me know.

Joan L. Millman
Member of Assembly

What To Do If You Are Victimized

There are many ways to become a victim of identity theft. Sometimes you will be notified that your information has been stolen, either through a store or company whose database has been illegally accessed, or you will need to recognize it on your own, such as if you have lost a wallet or other personal information. As soon as you learn that you have been a victim of identity theft, there are several immediate steps to follow. They are listed in this flyer. However, before you start, remember to keep a record of all conversations, phone calls, and letters, including names, dates, and phone numbers. Phone conversations should always be confirmed in writing. You should also keep copies of any letters you send, as well as request return receipt when the letters are mailed. These records may prove very important in resolving your identity theft and may even allow you to request restitution for the time and money spent doing so in a later judgment against the thief.

Contact Creditors:

  • Immediately contact the creditor with whom the fraudulent transaction is associated. Though initially telephone will be the most convenient and time efficient manner in which to do so, it is necessary to send a written report in addition with specific details of the complaint that includes a police report or law enforcement complaint number.

  • Close the accounts that have been fraudulently used and, if you decide to open a new account, insist upon a password only account.

  • It is a good idea to notify all of your creditors, even those that have not been involved in the fraud, so that they are aware that a thief may have access to your personal information.

  • Federal law limits your liability to $50 for unauthorized charges to your account when a credit card has been used fraudulently, however this amount may increase if you do not report the loss of your card immediately, so acting quickly will make a difference.

Contact the Credit Bureaus:

  • Call the three major credit card bureaus immediately to inform them of the fraud. Again, it is a good idea to send a written notification of the fraud as well.

  • Make sure to request that your file be flagged with a "fraud alert," and to ensure that no new accounts are opened using your personal information, request that creditors call you for permission before any new accounts are opened in your name.

  • Ask each credit bureau what their procedures are for fraudulent accounts so that you can ensure that future creditors will know that you have been the victim of identity theft.

  • The credit bureau fraud alerts usually last for 60 to 90 days, so bear in mind that it may be necessary to extend the alert.

  • Request a copy of your credit report. This should be done in writing and should include your name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and employer. Beginning September 1st, 2005, everyone is entitled to a free credit report once a year due to the recent enactment of the U.S. Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. If you would like a copy of your credit report, you can call toll-free 1-877-322-8228 after September 1st.

  • These are the three major credit bureaus and their contact information:

    • Trans Union Fraud Victim Assistance Department
      P.O. Box 679
      Fullerton, CA 92834
      Phone Number:
    • Experian Consumer Fraud Assistance
      P.O. Box 949
      Allen, TX 75013
      Phone Number:
    • Equifax Consumer Fraud Division
      P.O. Box 105069
      Atlanta, GA 30348
      Phone Number:
Contact Law Enforcement:
  • Report the identity theft promptly to your local law enforcement agency. Keep a copy of the police report; you will need it as proof of the crime when reporting the fraud to financial institutions.

  • Also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission either by phone at 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) or online at

Additional Authorities:
The following is a list of contact information for additional agencies that you may need to contact depending on the nature of your identity theft.
  • Stolen Checks:
    • CheckRite: 1-800-766-2748

    • Equifax: 1-800-437-5120

    • SCAN: 1-800-262-7771

    • Telecheck: 1-800-710-9898

    • E-Funds/ChexSystems:

    • NPC: 1-800-526-5380

    • International Check Services:

  • Stolen Social Security Number:
    • Phone number: 1-800-269-0271

    • Call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 if you believe someone has been using your SSN to secure employment. Request a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefit Estimate Statement to review for accuracy either at your local Social Security office or online at

    • There is a Social Security office in Brooklyn Heights located at 195 Montague Street.

  • Fraudulent Change of Address:
    • Mail Fraud
      Chief of Postal Inspector Service
      475 L’Enfant Plaza, S.W.
      Washington, D.C. 20260-2181


  • Stolen Passport:
    • Report the theft to the U.S State Department:
      Washington Passport Agency
      111 19th Street, N.W.
      Washington, D.C. 20524

    • Phone Number: (202) 647-0518

  • Stolen Driver’s License:
    • Request form FI-17, Report of Unauthorized Use/Duplication of License or Registration by contacting:

      License and Registration Crimes Unit
      Division of Field Investigations,
      New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
      6 Empire State Plaza, Room 431
      Albany, NY 12228
      Phone Number: (518) 473-6464

Room 510 Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
(518) 455-5426

341 Smith Street
Brooklyn, New York 11231
(718) 246-4889