An ounce of precaution can keep you from becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud,
but sometimes the thieves  develop new methods before warnings can be issued.

If you have become a victim, it is best to act immediately to hold damage to your personal
funds and financial accounts to a minimum.  Below is a list of agencies that receive and
process complaints of possible identity theft and fraud.

Federal Trade Commission, under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act,
has the responsibility of providing informational material to victims and referring their
complaints to appropriate agencies such as law enforcement agencies and the major
credit bureau reporting companies. You may contact the Federal Trade Commission
at  where you can submit an identity theft complaint form. You may also call
toll-free at 1-877-ID THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or TDD at 1-202-326-2502. By mail, send to
Consumer Response Center, FTC, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, DC
20580 .

Your local office of the
Postal Inspection Service should be contacted if you suspect a
change-of-address form has been submitted by an ID thief or if your mail has been used to
commit fraudulent acts using your identity.

If your Social Security number is being fraudulently used, contact the
Social Security
toll-free at 1-800-269-0271.

Internal Revenue Service should be notified at 1-800-829-0433 if you suspect
use of ID information in connection with tax violations.

The three major credit reporting agencies should be contacted.

Equifax  P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA  30374-0250 / Phone 1-800-525-6285

Experian (formerly TRW) P.O. Box 1017, Allen, TX  75013 / Phone 1-888-397-3742

Trans Union  P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA  92634 / Phone 1-800-680-7289

You can order a copy of your credit report from these agencies. There is a phone number
listed on the credit report that you may call to dispute fraudulent activity shown on the
report. These agencies also receive requests to opt out of "pre-approved" offers of credit  
and marketing lists which provide easy sources for ID theft through mailbox and garbage

creditors should be contacted if you discover fraudulent activity on your account
statements. These include such agencies as your long-distance phone company, credit
and department store cards and any other accounts where you have extended credit.

Contact all
financial institutions where you have accounts where an identity thief  has
taken control or that have been created in your name but without your knowledge. You
may need to close those accounts, stop payment on outstanding checks and change
ATM card, account and Personal Identification Number (PIN).

If you know that a merchant has received a check stolen from you, contact the
that the merchant uses. The following is a list of check-verifying agencies and
their toll-free numbers:

1.  CheckRite --- 1-800-766-2748
2.  ChexSystems --- 1-800-428-9623 (closed checking accounts)
3.  CrossCheck ---  1-800-552-1900
4.  Equifax --- 1-800-437-5120
5.  National Processing Com. (NPC) --- 1-800-526-5380
6.  SCAN --- 1-800-262-7771
7.  TeleCheck --- 1-800-710-9898