The following letter is a model for notifying people whose names and Social Security numbers have been stolen. In cases of stolen Social Security numbers, it is important that people place a fraud alert on their credit reports. A fraud alert may hinder identity thieves from getting credit with stolen information because it is a signal to creditors to contact the consumer before opening new accounts or changing existing accounts. Potential victims of a theft also should review their credit reports periodically to keep track of whether their information is being misused. For some victims, weeks or months may pass between the time the information is stolen and the time it is misused.
Model Letter For the
We are contacting you about a potential problem involving identity theft.
We recommend that you place a fraud alert on your credit file. A fraud alert tells creditors to contact you before they open any new accounts or change your existing accounts. Call any one of the three major credit bureaus. As soon as one credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the others are notified to place fraud alerts. All three credit reports will be sent to you, free of charge, for your review.
Even if you do not find any suspicious activity on your initial credit reports, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends that you check your credit reports periodically. Victim information sometimes is held for use or shared among a group of thieves at different times. Checking your credit reports periodically can help you spot problems and address them quickly.
If you find suspicious activity on your credit reports or have reason to believe your information is being misused, call [insert contact information for law enforcement] and file a police report. Get a copy of the report; many creditors want the information it contains to absolve you of the fraudulent debts. You also should file a complaint with the FTC at www.consumer.gov/idtheft or at 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338). Your complaint will be added to the FTC’s Identity Theft Data Clearinghouse, where it will be accessible to law enforcers for their investigations.
We have enclosed a copy of ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name, a comprehensive guide from the FTC to help you guard against and deal with identity theft.