Cancel your credit cards immediately. It is important to have the toll free numbers and your card numbers handy so you know whom to call. Keep those numbers where you can find them easily (DON’T KEEP THEM IN YOUR WALLET OR PURSE).
Contact your bank if your checkbook or ATM card was stolen along with your wallet or purse.
File a police report immediately in the jurisdiction where the purse or wallet was stolen. This proves to credit providers you were diligent, and is a first step toward an investigation.
The most important step you can take to protect yourself is to call the three national credit reporting organizations immediately to place a fraud alert on your name and Social Security Number. The alert means any company that checks your credit knows your information was stolen and they have to contact you by phone to authorize new credit. They can reached at the following:
Experian (formerly TRW) 1-800-301-7195
Trans Union 1-800-680-7289
Social Security Administration also has a fraud line: 1-800-269-0271
You may initiate a Missing Persons Report by contacting the department at 415-453-5330. Contrary to popular belief, law enforcement agencies in California do not require a person to wait a specific period of time before reporting a missing person.
Most misdemeanor arrestees are generally released after being issued a citation in the field. If a person is not cited in the field, he or she will be taken to Marin County Jail for booking (fingerprints, photographs, etc.).
Hate crimes are very serious and traumatic incidents. When these crimes are occurring, they should be reported to the police immediately by telephoning 911. If you have been a victim of a hate crime but it is not an immediate life-threatening emergency, you should call the department at 415-453-5330 and report the crime.
You can request a Restraining Order against a person who has hurt or threatened you, or other family members, by going to the Marin County Civic Center. You may pick up the paperwork for requesting civil harassment restraining orders between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.
Request a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) at the Superior Court at the location and time given above. NOTE: Emergency Protection Orders are available through the Police Department on a 24-hour basis, and are valid for only 5 court days.
Your TRO should be granted the same day.
Serve the defendant with a copy of the TRO. (Anyone over 18 years of age, except you, can hand the Order to the defendant.)
Deliver a copy of the TRO, Proof of Service, and Law Enforcement Information form to your local police station. Retain the originals of all documents.
You must return to court in approximately three weeks to obtain an order that is valid for three years. This order must also be served to the defendant and copies delivered to the police station.
You can be ordered to see a mediator to try to work out visitation of any minor children involved. The law gives you the right to see the mediator alone, in a separate meeting. After any agreement with the mediator regarding visitation, be sure to return to court to obtain the three-year restraining order which protects you!
If anyone is inflicting physical or sexual abuse on any person RIGHT NOW, please call 9-1-1. If you suspect any form of elder abuse has occurred, but is not currently in progress, contact your local law enforcement agency or any of the appropriate programs listed below by using non-emergency telephone numbers.
Assistance from District Attorney’s Office: The District Attorney’s Office can provide victims of elder abuse with medical compensation, counseling, assistance in filing “Victim of Crime Claims,” and assistance for victims with court procedures and transportation.
Immediately contact all your credit card issuers. Get replacement cards with new account numbers. Ask that the old accounts be processed as “account closed at consumer’s request.” (This is better than “card lost or stolen,” because when this statement is reported to credit bureaus, it can be interpreted as blaming you for the loss.)
Call the fraud units of the three credit reporting companies: TRW, Equifax, and Trans Union. Report the theft of your credit cards and/or numbers. Ask that your accounts be flagged. Also, add a victim’s statement to your report such as, “My ID has been used to apply for credit fraudulently. Contact me at XXX-XXX-XXXX (your phone number) to verify all applications.”
Notify your bank(s) of the theft. Cancel your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Ask the bank to issue you a secret password that must be used in every transaction. Put stop payments on any outstanding checks that you are unsure of.
If you use an ATM card for banking services, get a new card, account number, and password. Do not use your old password. When creating a password, avoid such commonly used numbers as the last four digits of your Social Security number and your birth date.
If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to Telecheck and National Processing Company (NPC). These check guarantee companies will flag your file so that bogus checks will be turned down. Call Telecheck at 800-366-2425. Call NPC at 800-526-5380.
The Secret Service has jurisdiction over financial fraud cases. This federal government agency usually does not investigate individual cases unless the dollar amount is very high. To interest the Secret Service in your case, ask someone in the fraud department of your credit card companies and/or banks to notify the particular SS agent they work with.
Notify the Social Security Administration’s office of the Inspector General if your SSN has been used fraudulently. You may want to have your SSN changed if your number has become associated with bad checks and credit. CAUTION: This step should be reserved for only the most extreme situations. You must be sure to notify all credit grantors and credit reporting bureaus of your new SSN.
If you have a passport, notify the passport office to be on the lookout for anyone ordering a new passport fraudulently.
Call your telephone, electrical, gas and water utilities. Alert them to the possibility that someone may attempt to open new service using your identification. Also contact your long distance company.
The nearest office of the Consumer Credit Counseling Service might be able to help you remove fraudulent claims from your credit report. Call 800-388-2227.
In dealing with the authorities and financial institutions, keep a log of all conversations, including dates and names. Send correspondence by certified mail. Keep copies of all letters and documents. Provide your police report number to expedite reporting the crime.
Consider seeking legal counsel, especially if you have difficulty clearing up your credit history, or your case is complex and involves a lot of money. An attorney can help you recover from the fraud and determine whether your rights under various credit banking, SSN, and other laws have been violated.
Pay attention to your own mental health. Victims of identity theft report that they often feel they are somehow to blame. They can also feel violated, even powerless, due in large part to the fact that few, if any, of the authorities who have been notified of the crime step forward to help the victim. Discuss your situation with a trusted friend or counselor. Seek help from a victims rights organization.
Remember, if you have been denied credit, you are entitled to a free credit report.
To report fraudulent use of your checks: Call Telecheck 800-366-2425 or National Processing Company (NPC) 800-526-5380.