IDENTITY THEFT is the fastest growing crime in the nation! It is best defined as the illegal possession or use of your personal information to obtain credit, goods or services, work, benefits, access your existing accounts or even commit crimes using your name. It costs businesses and individuals over 50 billion dollars a year, with only 25% of victims reporting.
If you are a Newark resident or work in Newark and become a victim of identity theft, make your preliminary report with the Newark Police Department and your case will be forwarded to and investigated by the jurisdiction where the crime occurred.
Identity Theft Prevention
Use the attached resources to help protect yourself from the fastest growing crime in the United States.
Instructions for Identity Theft Victims
Once you discover you are the victim of identity theft: Keep a written log of every phone call, copies of all correspondence and expenses associated with managing your identity theft case.
- ID Theft Case Management (EXCEL)
1. Order a FREE copy of your credit report from all three credit reporting bureaus.
(Experian, Equifax and TransUnion)
To order your once yearly FREE report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228. (You will also be entitled to additional free credit reports as a victim of Identity theft.)
By ordering your report you will be able to determine whether there are any additional fraudulent accounts and/or inquiries that you need to report to law enforcement and the credit reporting bureaus.
2. Complete ID Theft Affidavit.
3. File a preliminary police report with the law enforcement agency that services the jurisdiction in which you live or work.
Supply the law enforcement agency with a copy of your completed ID Theft Affidavit and any supporting documentation you have collected. These documents will be included with your report and evaluated for follow-up by the reporting agency and/or forwarded the agency(s) where the crime(s) occurred. (California Penal Code section 530.6)
Obtain a copy of your police report. You will need to provide a copy of this report to each of the creditors and credit reporting bureaus when reporting the fraud.
4. Report the fraud to the three major credit reporting bureaus and place a preliminary "fraud alert" on your credit files. A fraud alert notifies a creditor to contact you at a specific phone number before granting credit.
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30348
The fraud alert will only remain in place for 90 days. Protect yourself by extending the fraud alert to 7 years. A 7 Year Fraud Alert Request must be done in writing and include a copy of your police report. (See template letter)
- 7 Year Fraud Alert Request-Equifax (WORD)
- 7 Year Fraud Alert Request-Experian (WORD)
- 7 Year Fraud Alert Request-TransUnion (WORD)
***A fraud alert is only as good as the creditor who sees it. You may also “Freeze” your credit files, which prevents a creditor from even viewing your credit history, so credit will not be granted without you personally lifting the “Freeze”. A credit freeze may be placed online at each of the three credit reporting bureaus or in writing. (See Credit Freeze Instructions and Template Letters)
Follow up with "Blocking" letters to each of the three credit reporting bureaus requesting that all inquiries, fraudulent accounts, or collection information, as a result of fraud, be removed from your credit files. (See blocking letter templates)
5. Call Creditors and dispute fraudulent charges and any new accounts that the thief opened in your name. Request documents associated with the fraudulent account and/or transactions.
Tell the creditors that you are the victim of identity theft and ask them not to hold you responsible for new accounts opened by the thief or fraudulent charges made on your existing accounts. Ask the creditors to give you copies of documents associated with the new accounts or fraudulent charges, which you are entitled to by law. (530.8 PC)
Follow up your phone call with a letter to the creditors, reiterating what you said in your phone call. (See dispute letter templates)
6. If you are contacted by a collection agency…
Tell the debt collector you are the victim of identity theft, that you dispute the debt, and are not responsible for it. Even if the debt collector assures you that they have relieved you of the debt, send the debt collector a certified follow-up letter, within 30 days, reiterating what you said or they may transfer your debt to another debt collector. (See collection agency dispute letter template)
7. If your checks, ATM card or bank account information is lost or stolen…
Call the bank and close your bank account. Open a new account with a new account number. Tell the bank you want to use a new password for access to your new account.
Contact the major check verification companies listed below and ask them to notify retailers who use their databases not to accept checks on your closed account. (If you do not take this step retailers will accept the check then attempt to collect from you when the check is returned "Account closed".)
- Telecheck: 800-710-9898
- Certegy, Inc: 800-437-5120
- SCAN: 800-262-7771
8. If you are wrongly accused of a crime committed by an identity thief…
There is a special database in the California Department of Justice that can help victims of "Criminal Identity Theft", which occurs when a suspect in a criminal investigation identifies themselves using the identity of another, innocent person. MORE INFO
9. When your child's identity is stolen…
Children are the fastest growing group of identity theft victims. MORE INFO
10. Identity Theft and the Deceased…
The deceased are frequently targets of identity theft. MORE INFO
11. 'Active Duty' Alert Helps Protect Military Personnel from Identity Theft
Internet Crimes and Complaints
Unless you have suffered a financial loss and a police report is required for insurance purposes, report all Internet Crimes or suspected scams to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. www.IC3.gov. The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, which provides a central referral mechanism for complaints involving Internet related crimes.
- California Office of Privacy Protection
- Federal Trade Commission
- ID Theft Resource Center
- Privacy Rights Clearing House
- Social Security Administration
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service
Investigations Bureau: (510) 578-4247
To report any crime: (510) 578-4237
To report a life-threatening emergency: 9-1-1