Recovering from identity theft can take time, money and patience. Some victims have lost job opportunities, been denied loans, and have been arrested for crimes they did not commit. As a responsible consumer, you can take steps to manage your personal information and minimize the risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. Should you become a victim of identity theft, follow these four important steps:
1. Contact the Storey County Sheriff’s Office and file a report. The non-emergency dispatch number is 775-847-0950. By filing a police report, you will be eligible to apply for the Nevada Identity Theft Program Card. This program will help you work with creditors and law enforcement to identify that you are the victim of alleged wrongdoing committed using your good name. Anyone in the Victim Services Unit will be happy to assist you in completing the application.
2. Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or wrongfully opened. Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of the bank or credit card companies. Follow-up each call in writing and keep copies of these letters. If an identity thief has made charges to your account, ask the company to send you the forms to dispute the charges.
3. Place a fraud alert or freeze on your credit reports and review your credit reports. Fraud alerts can help prevent an identify thief from opening more accounts in your name. Contact one of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to place a fraud alert on your credit report. Once you request a fraud alert, you are entitled to a FREE credit report. Nevada law also allows victims of identity theft to request their credit records be frozen for free. The request must be made in writing to the three credit reporting agencies. The agencies have 5 days from receiving the request to begin the freeze. The freeze ensures a consumer’s credit information is not released and no new credit is issued without the consumer’s approval.
4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Filing a complaint with the FTC will give law enforcement agencies across the nation important information to help them track down and stop identify thieves. The FTC may refer complaints to other agencies for further action, as well as investigate companies for violations or related laws. You can file a complaint on the FTC’s website at www.consumer.gov/idtheft.
For more information on the Nevada Identity Theft Program, go to: www.ag.state.nv.us
or call 1-877-213-5227.