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IDENTITY THEFT INFORMATION

If you become a victim, it's important you act quickly. Visit our identity theft Web site, texasfightsidtheft.gov Information at texasfightsidtheft.gov will help you stop a perpetrator from continuing to use your identity and help you recover from the effects. Complete the ID Theft kit and submit to your local law enforcement agency at the time of the report.  The site includes: how to report the crime, work with businesses, close fraudulent accounts, and place a security alert and/or freeze on your credit report

What is Identity Theft?

Texas Penal Code Sec. 32.51 states that a person commits an offense if they obtain, possess, transfer, or use identifying information of another person without the other person's consent and with intent to harm or defraud another.

 

What is identifying information?

This can include your name, SSN, date of birth, bank account number, PIN numbers, etc...It means any information that identifies a specific individual.

 

Does my local police department have to file a report for identity theft?

Under Texas law, if you are the victim of identity theft, and you report it to your local police department, department must take an official police report. (Art. 2.29 CCP)

 I am a victim of identity theft. What do I do now?

File a police report and get a copy of the report for your files.

You can normally obtain a police report through the department records section. Set up a folder to keep detailed information of the crime. Keep a log of all of your contacts and make copies of documents. Contact all of your creditors and notify them of your problem.

Contact the Federal Trade Commission.

http://www.ftc.gov/ or at 1-877-IDTHEFT. 


The FTC is the federal clearinghouse for identity theft complaints. You must do this yourself.

Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert in your file.

Notification to the other bureaus is automatic. The three major credit bureaus contact information are:

Equifax 1-800-525-6285


Experian
1-888-397-3742


TransUnion
 1-800-680-7289

You should also request a copy of your credit report.

Alert your banks and change your PIN numbers and passwords.

If checks were stolen, or a bank account was set up fraudulently, contact the following companies:

National Check Fraud Service 843-571-2143


SCAN 800-262-7771


Telecheck 800-710-9898

Contact the Social Security Administration's Fraud Hotline:


S.S.A. Fraud Hotline 
at 1-800-269-0271, www.ssa.gov

If you believe your mail has been tampered with or stolen:

Contact a postal inspector at the US Postal Service Website and file a report.

What if the person who stole my identity lives in another town or state?

Your local police department must still file the initial report. In most cases, your local police will forward the report to the agency where the suspect resides so that they can investigate the complaint.

 

Will there be an arrest in my case?

If a suspect can be positively identified, then the case will be presented to the local prosecutor for possible charges. However, identity theft is a difficult case to investigate and prosecute. Many ID theft suspects operate over the internet and use fake ID's, making positive identification sometimes very difficult. The most important step in this process is for you to protect your personal information and your financial accounts.

If your driver’s license was taken

Apply for a duplicate driver’s license as soon as possible through your local DPS office, and ask them to put an "alarm" on your driver’s license as stolen to help prevent identity theft. Also, notify the credit reporting bureaus and request a credit report after one month.

If someone has stolen your identity to get new credit

Call the police department at the non-emergency number (409) 962-0244 and make an Identity Theft report. In Texas, Identity Theft becomes a crime only when any victim (person or business) suffers a monetary loss. Also, call the Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft Hotline to notify them and get advice on how to proceed. Notify all three credit reporting bureaus to put a Fraud Alert on your data and immediately request a credit report. You must then advise the credit bureau and the institution making the entry of any specific fraudulent accounts appearing on that report. That institution should send you an affidavit of account/transaction fraud to sign and return to them. Make sure that the Institution who has made entry on the report provides a certified letter to you advising of the removal of the inquiry and or credit established without your knowledge. 

Federal Trade Commission ID Theft Hotline 1-877-438-4338;

http://consumer.gov/ncpw/everyone/identity-theft-and-privacy/ 


Other phone resources for advice and information


Federal Government Information Center (for agency phone numbers) 1-800-688-9889

Online Fraud (Sweepstakes, Lotteries, Auctions, ect)  

Make a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center. They will send a report to the city where the victim lives and to the proper jurisdiction where the suspect lives. The appropriate authorities will then be able to investigate the incident.

Internet Crime Complaint Center www.ic3.gov

ID Theft Preventative Actions

  • Never Give personal information over the telephone unless you initiated the call. This includes your social security number, date of birth, mother's maiden name, credit card number or PIN numbers. Protect this information and release it only when necessary.
  • Shred all personal financial paperwork before discarding. This includes receipts.
  • Empty your wallet of extra credit cards and cancel the ones you do not use.
  • Order your credit report once per year and check for fraudulent activity. This is free in most states, including Texas.
  • Keep track of all receipts and never discard them in public trash receptacles.
  • Memorize your SSN and all passwords and PIN's. Never write them down where thy can be found by a thief.
  • Sign all new credit cards upon receipt.
  • Notify your credit card companies and financial institutions in advance of any change of address or phone number.
  • Never loan your credit cards to anyone.
  • If you applied for a new credit card and it has not arrived in a timely manner call the bank or credit card company involved.
  • Report all lost or stolen credit cards and file a report with your local police department.
  • Closely monitor expiration dates on your credit cards and contact the issuer if a new card is not received before the card expires.
  • Beware of mail or phone solicitations disguised as promotions offering instant prizes. If they are asking for personal information or credit card information, do not give it out.
  • Be cautious in disclosing your credit card information to any on-line service. Be sure that you are dealing with a reputable business before giving out any credit card information.


If you do not have a personal computer, or access to the internet, go to your local library for internet access.

 

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