Check your credit report for any errors or misuse of your accounts. Everyone is entitled to ONE (1) free credit report every year from EACH of the THREE (3) credit reporting companies. You can request your free credit report from all three companies at once, or you can order them one at a time.
To order your free credit report online, go to:
To order your report by phone, call 1-877-322-8228.
You can also order your report by mailing a completed Annual Credit Report Request Form to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
To get a copy of this form, contact AgeOptions at (800)699-9043 or go to http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/resources/forms/requestformfinal.pdf.
Putting a Fraud Alert on Your Credit Account
If you think you may have experienced identity theft, you should call one of the companies above to place a Fraud Alert on your account. You are also entitled to one (1) free credit report from each of the reporting companies if you have experienced identity theft. You only need to call ONE (1) of the companies to place an alert; that company is then required to notify the other two.
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (1-888-397-3742)
You can also place a Credit Freeze on your account, but you will have to contact all three companies. A credit freeze is stricter than a fraud alert; it prevents anyone from viewing your credit report until you lift the freeze. This means that no one can open accounts in your name unless you lift the credit freeze. (Note: if you are a victim of identity theft or at least 65 years old, a credit freeze is free in Illinois. Otherwise, you will have to pay $10 each time you place or lift a security freeze.)
NOTE: In addition to alerting the credit bureaus, you should also file an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and your local police department. In some cases, you may also want to contact your utility companies or other companies with which you have accounts.
The FTC gives a step-by-step explanation of what to do if you think you have experienced identity theft, including more information about the different between fraud alerts and credit freezes:
Illinois Attorney General's Identity Theft Hotline
Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office has a hotline that individuals can call for information and assistance if they think their personal information has been compromised. The hotline's phone number is 1-866-999-5630. The Attorney General's website also has helpful information and fact sheets on identity theft on their website: http://www.illinoisattorneygeneral.gov/consumers/hotline.html