Identity theft is when someone obtains and uses another individual's personally identifying information (like their name, Social Security number, or credit card information) without their permission. If you become a victim of identity theft, contact law enforcement, the major consumer reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion), and the businesses and creditors where the thief used your existing accounts or opened new accounts in your name to inform them of the crime.
The businesses and creditors may ask you to provide a notarized identity theft affidavit from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to close and remove the fraudulent accounts from your credit report. Some may require you to submit this within 2 weeks.
This form may also be useful when applying for an identity (ID) theft discharge of federal student loans, but it is not required. Speak with your loan servicer to learn more about how to apply for this discharge if you think your loans may be eligible.
What Is The FTC Identity Theft Affidavit?
The FTC affidavit certifies that you’re an identity theft victim, and it provides all of the information businesses and creditors will need to assist you in correcting any damage the identity thief has done.
Not all businesses accept the FTC affidavit, so call them before completing and submitting it. If they don’t accept it, ask what documentation is required to remove new accounts opened in your name due to identity theft.
Once you’ve submitted your affidavit, keep an especially close eye on your credit report. Doing so will allow you to know when the fraudulent accounts are removed and spot any additional suspicious activity that may occur. You can get a free credit report every 12 months from the three major consumer reporting agencies at AnnualCreditReport.com.If fraudulent accounts remain on your credit reports, follow up with creditors periodically to ensure that they're making progress in correcting the issue.
Visit ftc.gov/idtheft to use a secure online affidavit that you can print for your records, or download the PDF version below.