One of the most crucial elements in combating identity theft is reporting it very quickly. The sooner a victim gets in contact with an organization to report identity theft, the sooner that identity theft can be dealt with, and the less damage will be done.
It is important to report identity theft immediately, then, in the hopes of solving the problem sooner, rather than later. Most of the following procedures are taken directly from the Department of Justice website, justice.gov, and as such are very advisable for you to follow.
The first action that a victim of identity theft should take is contacting the Federal Trade Commission to report identity theft. The Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act makes the FTC responsible for helping individuals reporting identity theft, both in processing the report and in offering information up to further help those individuals. In addition to the FTC, the local offices of the FBI or the US Secret Service would be good places to report identity theft, as identity theft is a federal crime.
While contacting the FTC is a good way to initially report identity theft, you should likely contact a number of other organizations in order to ensure that you will be as safe as possible. Reporting identity theft to your local office of the Postal Inspection Service is important if you believe that in the process of identity theft, the perpetrator may have attempted to submit a change-of-address form, so as to have access to your mail, and any credit card bills that might come from new accounts the perpetrator has opened.
You should report identity theft to the Social Security Administration if the identity theft likely involves your social security and not just your credit card number, as the Social Security Administration can then take immediate action to stop the use of your social security number illegally. Finally, you should likely report identity theft to the Internal Revenue Service if you believe the identity theft has been used to connect you to tax violations wrongly, as the IRS can take action to put a stop on any such connection.
Beyond contacting the above government agencies, you should likely report identity theft to the fraud units of Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union, each of which is a principal credit reporting company. Contacting them early will help to put a hold on your credit, and prevent the problem from becoming any more exacerbated than it already is.
Additionally, getting touch with those creditors with whom your personal information has been fraudulently used is vital, as it will put an end to such charges until everything can be sorted out. Finally, you should report identity theft to any banks or other financial institutions where an account was stolen via identity theft, and you should report identity theft to check verification companies in order to protect your checks, if they were stolen by an identity thief along with your bank accounts.