The Federal Trade Commission defines identity theft as a serious crime. Identity theft happens when someone uses information about you without your permission. They could use your:
- Credit card or bank account numbers
- Medical insurance account numbers
- Name and address
- Social Security number
- You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can't explain.
- You don't get your bills or other mail.
- Merchants refuse your checks.
- Debt collectors call you about debts that aren't yours.
- You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn't use.
- Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you've reached your benefits limit.
- A health plan won't cover you because your medical records show a condition you don't have.
- The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don't work for.
- You get a notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.
Visit the Federal Trade Commission's Identity Theft page for more information.
What to Do
According to the Virginia Attorney General, this is what you should do if you believe you are a victim of identity theft:
- Notify your bank or credit union, credit card company, and one of the three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or Trans Union) to notify them that you are a victim of an identity crime.
- Contact your local police or sheriff's department and file a criminal complaint.
- If you fall victim to identity theft while using the Internet, you should file a report with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).
- Request an Identity Theft Passport from the Office of the Attorney General.
The Identity Theft Passport is a card that you can carry and present to law enforcement or other individuals who may challenge you about your identity should you become the victim of identity crime. You may download the application for an Identity Theft Passport (PDF). You can then print, complete, sign, and mail to the Office of the Attorney General or you may write to their office for an application for an Identity Theft Passport:
Office of the Attorney General
Victim Notification Program
202 N Ninth Street
Richmond, VA 23219