If you’re the victim of identity theft it is critical that you act quickly to protect yourself from further damages.

Roughly one in ten households in America have been victimized by identity theft.  According to the Utah Attorney General, nearly 600 cases have been reported in the last 12 months.  As many cases go unreported – or unnoticed- the number of actual victims likely exceeds that number.  An increasing number of thieves are targeting unused social security numbers of children.

If you or a family member has had their identity stolen, it is important you act quickly. Here are 6 steps you should take right away.

Step 1: Contact the companies where you know the fraud occurred.

Most companies have a fraud department, contact that office and let them know your identity has been stolen.  Ask them to freeze your accounts and restrict any further activity unless you are contacted first.

Step 2: Change logins, passwords and PINS for all your accounts.

As the majority of identity fraud these days occurs online, you’ll need to “change the locks” on all your sensitive online information.  Bank accounts, credit cards, Amazon accounts, Ebay, itunes are obvious, but don’t forget your social media and email accounts as well.  When you change your login info, you usually receive email confirmation, so if someone has access to your email, all your changes will be for nothing.

Step 3: Request a fraud alert be put on your credit reports and request a copy.

Contact one of the three credit bureaus and tell them you want a fraud alert on your report.  This is a free service and will make it much more difficult for someone to obtain credit using your name illegally.  You should only have to contact one of the three major bureaus, they are required to report the alert to the other two.  You should also receive a letter confirming the alert.

Equifax.com/CreditReportAssistance – 1-888-766-0008

Experian.com/fraudalert – 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion.com/fraud – 1-800-680-7289

You are entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months.  To request yours go to AnnualCreditReport.com  or call 1-877-322-8228.  If you have already received your free report, you can either pay for another one, or follow the instructions in the fraud alert confirmation letter to receive a free one.

Carefully review your report(s) for information or transactions you don’t recognize, then go on to step 4.

Step 4: Report identity theft to the FTC and the Utah Attorney General.

It is important that you report the identity theft to both Utah and federal authorities.  Both have forms available online.

Federal Trade Commission – Ftc.gov/complaint

Utah Attorney General iD Theft Central – http://idtheft.utah.gov

Make sure you print and save your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit immediately.  You’ll need it when you file a report with the police.

Step 5: File a report with your local police department.

Go to your local police department to file a formal report.  Take the following items.

  1. A copy of your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit.
  2. A government-issued ID with photo.
  3. Proof of your current address (utility bills, mortgage statement, voter registration, etc.).
  4. Any proof of the identity theft (account statements, IRS notices etc.).
  5. The FTC’s Memo to Law Enforcement (available at IdentiyTheft.gov).

Some police departments are reluctant to file reports.  If so, show them the FTC Memo and insist they create a report.  Make sure you get a copy.

The FTC Identity Theft Affidavit and the police report are essential to prove to businesses that someone stole your identity.

Step 6: Contact an Attorney.

While this list is a simple outline, dealing with identity theft can be a stressful, frustrating ordeal.  An experienced attorney can provide much needed advice and expertise, and assist in repairing the damages caused by the theft.  In addition to criminal prosecution, Utah law provides civil remedies for victims of identity theft.   These include compensatory damages in the amount of $1000, or up to three times the actual damages, whichever is greater. The law also allows victims to collect punitive damages and attorney fees so you may be able to get representation at no cost.


The effects of identity theft can be far reaching.  In addition to the loss of money or personal property, damage to credit and other financial harms, victims can suffer extreme emotional distress, fear and anxiety.

The Law Firm of Grant D. Gilmore represents Utah consumers against any number of predatory practices including identity theft.  If you or someone you know has been victimized, contact our office today to see if we can help.


Additional Resources

Federal Trade Commission –  identitytheft.gov

Annual Credit Report.com  – https://www.annualcreditreport.com/protectYourIdentity.action

iD Theft Central – Utah’s Identity Theft Solution – idtheft.utah.gov/

Utah Department of Commerce Division of Consumer Protection – www.dcp.utah.gov




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