What to do, if...
Emergency Information: What to do if you think you have been
are becoming more sophisticated every day, so don't blame yourself.
It is more important to act quickly to protect your information and
identity. If you believe you have been tricked this way, assume that you will become a victim of credit card fraud, bank fraud,
or identity theft. Below is some advice on what to do if you are in this
situation in the United States:
If you have given
out your credit or debit or ATM card information
theft of this information to the card issuer as quickly as possible
companies have toll-free numbers and 24-hour service to deal
with such emergencies.
account and open a new one
billing statements carefully after the loss
show any unauthorized charges, it's best to send a letter to the
card issuer describing each questionable charge.
Loss or Fraudulent Charges (FCBA).
maximum liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your
credit card is $50.
loss involves your credit card number, but not the card itself,
you have no liability for unauthorized use
ATM or Debit
Card Loss or Fraudulent Transfers (EFTA).
liability under federal law for unauthorized use of your ATM or
debit card depends on how quickly you report the loss.
unlimited loss if you fail to report an unauthorized transfer
within 60 days after your bank statement containing unauthorized
use is mailed to you
If you have given
out your bank account information
theft of this information to the bank as quickly as possible
account and open a new on
If you have given
out your eBay account
If someone else is using your account to bid, leave feedback, or list
auctions without your permission:
set up a link for HIJACKED ACCOUNTS
is currently listing auctions on your account, you may also use
the hotline options:
Problems... Law Enforcement... Please Investigate a Current
Listing for Possible Fraudulent Activity
only use this option if there are current fraudulent
sign in and change your password
If you are
able to sign in, change your password and hint immediately, and
begin to undo any damage done by the hackers
any bogus auctions, contact bidders and sellers, etc.
were unable to regain control of your own account, eBay will
likely suspend it for a while until they complete their
If you have
downloaded a virus or Trojan
Some phishing attacks use viruses and/or Trojans to install programs
called "key loggers" on your computer. These programs capture and send
out any information that you type to the phisher, including credit card
numbers, usernames and passwords, Social Security Numbers, etc. In this
case, you should:
update anti-virus and personal firewall software
virus definitions and run a full scan
connection your firewall allows
If your system
appears to have been compromised, fix it and then change your
password again, since you may well have transmitted the new one to
other accounts! The hackers may have helped themselves to many
eBay account, PayPal, your email ISP, online bank accounts,
online trading accounts, Amazon.com and other e-commerce
accounts, and everything else for which you use online password
If you have given
out your personal identification information
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such
as your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other
identifying information, without your permission to commit fraud or
other crimes. If you have given out this kind of information to a
phisher, you should do the following:
theft to the three major credit reporting agencies, Experian,
Equifax and TransUnion Corporation, and do the following:
that they place a fraud alert and a victim’s statement in your
FREE copy of your credit report to check whether any accounts
were opened without your consent.
that the agencies remove inquiries and/or fraudulent accounts
stemming from the theft.
order your report, call: 800-685-1111 or write: P.O. Box
740241, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
report fraud, call: 800-525-6285 and write: P.O. Box 740241,
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Hearing impaired call 1-800-255-0056 and ask the operator to
call the Auto Disclosure Line at 1-800-685-1111 to request a
copy of your report.
order your report, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) or write:
P.O. Box 2002, Allen TX 75013
report fraud, call: 888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) and write: P.O.
Box 9530, Allen TX 75013 TDD: 1-800-972-0322
order your report, call: 800-888-4213 or write: P.O. Box
1000, Chester, PA 19022
report fraud, call: 800-680-7289 and write: Fraud Victim
Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634 TDD:
bank(s) and ask them to flag your account and contact you regarding
any unusual activity:
accounts were set up without your consent, close them.
ATM card was stolen, get a new card, account number and PIN.
local police department to file a criminal report.
Social Security Administration’s Fraud Hotline to report the
unauthorized use of your personal identification information.
Department of Motor Vehicles of your identity theft.
see whether an unauthorized license number has been issued in
passport office to be watch out for anyone ordering a passport in
your name. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Ask for a
free copy of "ID Theft: When Bad Things Happen in Your Good
Name", a guide that will help you guard against and recover from
complaint with the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC)
Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a partnership between
the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White
Collar Crime Center (NW3C), with a mission to address fraud
committed over the Internet.
victims of Internet fraud, IFCC provides a convenient and
easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a
suspected criminal or civil violation.
names and phone numbers of everyone you speak to regarding the
incident. Follow-up your phone calls with letters. Keep copies of
- Check out the list of recent
phishing attacks and the information about
- Job seekers should also be careful. Some phishers
target people who list themselves on job search sites. Pretending to be
potential employers, they ask for your social security number and other
personal information. Follow the advice above and verify the person’s
identity before providing any personal information.
- Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly and
asks for your personal information. It’s hard to tell whether
something is legitimate by looking at an email or a Web site, or talking
to someone on the phone. But if you’re contacted out of the blue and
asked for your personal information, it’s a warning sign that something
is “phishy.” Legitimate companies and agencies don’t operate that way.
- Act immediately if you’ve been hooked by a phisher. If you provided account numbers, PINs, or passwords to a phisher, notify
the companies with whom you have the accounts right away. For
information about how to put a “fraud alert” on your files at the credit
reporting bureaus and other advice for ID theft victims, contact the
Federal Trade Commission’s ID Theft Clearinghouse or toll-free, 877-438-4338. The TDD number
- Even if you didn’t get hooked, report phishing. Tell the company or agency that the phisher was impersonating. You can
also report the problem to law enforcement agencies through the National
Fraud Information Center/Internet Fraud Watch,
www.fraud.org or 800-876-7060, TDD 202-835-0778. The information you
provide helps to stop identity theft.
- For more
information about how to protect yourself, see
Fact Sheet 17a
Identity Theft: What to do if It Happens to You.
- Read the
information and tips put out by the Federal Trade Commission about phishing.
- Read the
Department of Justice's recent whitepaper
"Special Report on Phishing".
Reporting a Possible Phishing Attack
If you need advice about an Internet or online
solicitation, or you want to report a possible scam, use the
Reporting Form or call the NFIC hotline at 1-800-876-7060
For Even More Information About Phishing, See: