Consumer Scams Article

Identity Theft

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is the unauthorized use of someone’s personal data (a driver’s license or Social Security number, for example) It is a fast-growing crime that strikes millions of Americans each year at an estimated cost of more than $51 billion to businesses, financial institutions and consumers.

Identity thieves may rummage through your trash, steal your wallet or skim encoded data from your credit card. Or they might go phishing (this refers to the use of misleading e-mails and fraudulent Web sites to trick Internet users into revealing personal data). Or they might plant spyware - software that collects personal information as it is keyed into your computer.

To keep tabs on your credit, request a free credit report annually from each of the three major credit bureaus. To order your free annual reports, call (877) 322-8228 or visit the Annual Credit Report Program on-line. If you fall victim to an identity thief, take action immediately.

Protect Your Identity

If you are a victim of identity theft:

  1. Contact the credit bureaus listed below, put a fraud alert on your credit report and request a free credit report
  2. File a police report
  3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and obtain an FTC ID Theft Affidavit.
  4. Fill out the ID Theft Affidavit and send it by certified mail (with a copy of the police report) to all businesses where a new account was opened.

 Credit Bureaus

Equifax on-line or call (800) 685-1111
Experian on-line or call (888) 397-3742
Transunion on-line or call (877) 322-8228



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  • Please select your county of residence below.



  • State Bar of Arizona
  • Maricopa County Bar
    Referral number 602-257-4434
  • Pima County Bar
    Referral number 520-623-4625
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • Bankruptcy Court Self Help Center
  • Certified Legal Document Preparer Program