ITRC Fact Sheet 123
Scam Assistance

This guide covers:

Some of the ways that scam artists are tricking people into giving information is either via the Internet through an Account Verification or “phishing” scam, or by using a telemarketer. Before you have time to think, you give them your Social Security Number (SSN), name, address and may even divulge bank account or credit card information.

Now what? Unfortunately the damage has been done. It would be unusual for a person or criminal organization to go through this much effort if they did not intend to use the information to their advantage. You are a victim of a scam at this moment and not identity theft. Perspective is critical to maintain your emotional well-being.

This guide will serve as a starting point of what to do and whom to call. If the situation evolves into identity theft, please refer to our other self-help guides and/or contact our office. If you did not provide information to the thieves, you should be safe.

Before you start, you may wish to verify if you are a potential victim of a scam. If you did not initiate the call, it is almost always a scam. But you can check it out by contacting the company involved directly. Use a customer service number you find in the phone book or one you find online. You can also contact the ITRC to find out if we have seen this scam before (Refer to ITRC Solution 25 - How can I tell if it is a scam?)

Tips for Dealing with the Authorities and Financial Institutions

Priority Items – Do Immediately

While placing the fraud alerts with the CRAs, also order a copy of your credit reports (free as a victim of potential identity theft). This allows you to check for any pending applications and verify that all the current information is correct. It becomes an accurate baseline for the fraud alert. For example, imposters might try to change your address. They can do so by applying for credit listing an address different than your current one. Differences in addresses are a warning flag for possible fraudulent activity.

Once you get your report, check with the fraud investigator to inquire if any new accounts have been opened recently or are pending. If so, get contact information for those creditors and contact them immediately.

All citizens in the US now qualify for free credit reports. By using this annual credit report system, refer to ITRC Fact Sheet FS 125, you can keep track of your reports. Instead of ordering them all at once, ITRC recommends ordering one of the credit reports every 3-4 months. In 2 to 3 months after you see the first report, order only one of the company’s reports through the annual free report program. Four months later get a different one and four months after that get the third company’s report. This staggering report system is a good habit to continue.

Please be aware that fraud alerts are advisory in nature only and that credit issuers are not required to honor them. Fraud alerts are in place for 90 days. You can renew them every 90 days, if you wish. You can cancel fraud alerts at any time. (Please refer to ITRC Fact Sheet FS 124– Fraud Alerts and Credit Freezes.)

You may also place a credit freeze on your report. This is a higher level of protection. Credit freezes are preventive and the best solution to date for avoiding fraudulent applications for credit under your name. Check our State Resources Map for the most up to date state information.


Credit Reporting Agencies Fraud Contact:

To report fraudulent use of your checks

 To report possible IRS scams


This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..