Identity Theft

Victims of Identity Theft spend an estimated 6,000 hours recovering over a period of several years.

What is Identity Theft?

Simply put, Identity Theft occurs when someone uses your personal information for financial gain.

  • Personal information is defined as social security number, date of birth, account numbers, or unique identifiers specific to you.

Examples of Identity Theft are:

  • A person uses your social security number for employment purposes.
  • Someone opens up an unauthorized account using your name and date of birth.
  • Someone uses your credit card number to make a fraudulent purchase online (credit card fraud and identity theft).

What is not Identity Theft?

Someone using your address or phone number without your permission.

  • Your personal information as defined above must be used for financial gain in order to pursue identity theft charges.

Who can investigate Identity Theft?

Typically, you will need to file reports with multiple law enforcement agencies when you are the victim of identity theft.

  • If you found charges or accounts that exist in other jurisdictions, you should file a report with them.
  • If you are a Fairfax County resident, you may file a report with our Department even if your personal information was not used in the county.

What should I do if I am a victim of Identity Theft?

  1. Cancel any compromised accounts right away. Call your financial institutions and ask to speak with a fraud specialist. Make sure you document the details of your phone call, and obtain their contact information. Follow up with them in writing by filing an affidavit of fraud (usually provided by them).
    • Make sure you send all information in a certified letter to the financial institution.
    • Make sure to request the company to notify you in writing when they have resolved your needs.
  2. File a police report with the correct jurisdiction(s).
  3. Contact the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies and place a Fraud Alert on your credit report. Once you place a fraud alert, creditors are required to verify the identity of a person claiming to be you, before extending credit to them.
    Equifax Experian Transunion

    Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
    P.O. Box 740241,
    Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

    Experian: 1-888-397-3742
    P.O. Box 9532
    Allen, TX 75013

    TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
    P.O. Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92834
  4. Review your credit reports regularly. The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act) requires the three major credit bureaus to provide you with one free credit report a year. The three major consumer credit reporting companies created to provide consumers with free credit reports from all three companies.
  5. Contact the Social Security Administration if your social security number has been compromised.
  6. Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for Identity Theft. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), section 609(e), spells out rights for victims of identity theft, as well as responsibilities for businesses.

NOTE: If someone received a traffic summons using your identity, contact the law enforcement agency and/or the officer that issued the summons for assistance.

How can I protect myself from becoming a victim of Identity Theft?

  • Monitor your credit reports.
  • Avoid phishing emails (emails where people represent a financial institution and request your personal information).
  • Shred paperwork with your personal information on it.
  • Be suspicious of irregular communications from your financial institutions. Legitimate businesses will provide you with a safe method of transferring information.

Where can I find additional information and resources?

Information on an identity theft passport from the Virginia Attorney General’s Office.

Code of Virginia – Applicable Laws and their code sections.


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