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Your Identity Has Been Stolen: Now What?

In spite of your careful monitoring, the worst has happened: Your identity has been stolen. It’s not your fault; these things do happen in spite of your best efforts. But what do you do now?

Don’t panic, but do act quickly!

There are some basic steps you need to take in all situations, and additional steps that depend on your exact situation.


  • Notify companies where actual fraud has occurred, and tell them your identity has been stolen. Perhaps you noticed a bogus charge on your credit card statement, received a bill from a utility that you don’t use, or were notified that the company was hacked, or had your wallet stolen.
  • Call the company
  • Close, freeze, or change your account
  • Change your login, your password, and your pin number
  • Contact just one of the major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert. That one company is required to notify the other two credit bureaus. Placing a fraud alert is free, and will make it a lot harder for someone to open more accounts in your name—the credit bureaus will be keeping watch.
  • 1-888-766-0008
  • 1-888-397-3742
  • 1-800-680-7289
  • Get a copy of your free credit report, and review it—report any transactions or accounts you don’t recognize. 1-877-322-8228
  • Report your identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Once you complete their complaint form, you’ll receive an Identity Theft Affidavit. This will come in handy during this process. Print out your Affidavit immediately, and save it—once you leave that page on the website, you won’t be able to access it again.
  • FTC Complaint Form 1-877-438-4338
  • Report your identity theft to your police department. Ask for a copy of the police report—you’ll need it later. The combination of your Identity Theft Affidavit and the police report (both equal your Identity Theft Report) proves to businesses that you have had your identity stolen, and guarantees you certain rights. Take these with you to the police station:
  • A copy of your Identity Theft Affidavit
  • Your government-issued photo ID
  • Proof of your address—rental agreement, or utility bill
  • Any proof you have of the theft
  • Hawai’i Police Department
  • Honolulu Police Department
  • Kauai Police Department
  • Maui Police Department


  • If accounts were opened in your name, call each company and close those accounts. Ask the company to send you a letter confirming that the fraudulent account is not yours, that you are not liable for it, and that it is (or will be) removed from your credit report. Keep this letter, and write down who you talked to, and when you talked to them.
  • Perhaps instead of fraudulent accounts, you simply have fraudulent purchases or charges. Follow the same procedure: Contact each company, have them remove the charges, ask them to send you the same letter, and keep track of who you talked to. Keep this letter, as well.
  • Clean up your credit report. Write to each credit bureau, explain that your identity has been stolen, attach your Identity Theft Report (the Affidavit and your police report), and proof of your identity (name, address, Social Security Number).
  • Tell the credit bureau what information on your report is fraudulent and from identity theft. Ask them to block this information.  Once the information is blocked, it won’t show up on your credit report, and those companies can’t try to collect the debt from you.  You must have your Identity Theft Report, though.
  • Add an extended fraud alert to your credit report—this will keep the credit bureau on watch for any possible fraudulent activity, and keep you informed.
  • Think about adding a credit freeze—this stops all access to your credit report unless you lift it or remove it.

Special Issues:

Depending on the situation of your identity theft, and what information was stolen, you may have to also take one or more of these additional steps:

  • If you have a tax-related identity theft:
  • Respond to any IRS notices
  • Did you get an IRS notice saying that you were paid by an employer you don’t recognize? Send a letter to the employer stating that someone stole your identity.
  • Complete the IRS Form 14039, Identity Theft Affidavit and mail or fax it in.
  • Keep notes about who you talk to and when, and keep copies of all correspondence.
  • If your Social Security card was lost or stolen:
  • Contact your local Social Security office, or apply online for a replacement card.
  •  Replace your Social Security card
  • Hawai’i Social Security Offices
  • If your Driver’s License was lost or stolen:
  • Contact your local DMV branch to report it and get it replaced.
  • Hawai’i DMV locations
  • Hawai’i
  • Honolulu
  • Maui
  • Kauai
  • If your passport was lost or stolen:
  • Call the State Department to report it: 1-877-487-2778
  • Submit the replacement form at a Passport Application Acceptance Facility.
  • If you need it replaced very quickly, apply in person at a Passport Agency.
  • In Hawai’i
  • If your name or personal information was used by someone who was arrested:
  • Contact the specific law enforcement agency (police department, sheriffs department, etc.) that made the arrest.
  • File a report about the impersonation.
  • Provide your fingerprints, a photo of yourself, and copies of any identifying documents.
  • Ask the law enforcement agency that made the arrest to:
  • Compare your information to the imposter’s.
  • Change all records from your name to the imposter’s real name.
  • Give you a clearance letter/certificate of release, to declare your innocence.
  • Keep this clearance letter with you at all times. It may take a while for the corrections to make their way through the system, and you certainly don’t want to be detained for just a traffic stop!
  • Keep notes about who you talked to and when.
  • If a court prosecutes someone who is using your name:
  • Contact the court where the arrest or conviction took place: In Hawai’i
  • Contact the appropriate district attorney for records to help clear your name in court records: In Hawai’i
  • Hawai’i U.S. Attorney
  • Provide proof of your identity.
  • Ask the court for a certificate of clearance, to declare your innocence.
  • Keep this clearance letter with you at all times.
  • Contact your state Attorney General’s office, and see if your state has an Identity Theft Passport, which you can use to resolve financial issues resulting from your identity theft. Ask if they have any other help for identity theft victims.
  • Ask any and all law enforcement agencies, courts, attorneys, that you contact what information brokers buy their records, and where else your information will appear. Write to the brokers and ask them to remove the errors from your file. Keep notes about who you contacted and when.
  • If someone is writing bad checks against your checking account:
  • Contact your bank, and stop payment on stolen blank checks plus any fraudulent checks.
  • Close your checking account.
  • Ask the bank to report the theft to the check verification system—they will then tell businesses to refuse the stolen checks. If this is taking a while, you can also contact the check verification companies yourself:
  • Telecheck: 1-800-710-9898
  • Certegy: 1-800-437-5120
  • Contact any businesses that accepted the bad checks, and explain what has happened. Don’t hesitate—you don’t want them to start collection proceedings, or for fees to start accumulating.

You can find more detailed instructions, sample letters, an overview of your rights as an identity theft victim, and warning signs of identity theft at the FTC’s Identity Theft website.

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