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Your rights

Credit reporting agencies
When dealing with credit reporting agencies, you have the right to:

  • Place a 90-day initial fraud alert on your credit files. You would do this if you think you are, or may become, the victim of identity theft.
  • Place a seven-year extended fraud alert on your credit files. You would do this if you know you are a victim of identity theft.
  • Get one free copy of your credit report and a summary of your rights from each credit reporting company.
  • Ask the credit reporting companies to block fraudulent information from appearing on your credit report.
  • Dispute fraudulent or inaccurate information on your credit report with a credit reporting company.

Creditors
When dealing with creditors, debt collectors, and merchants, you have the right to:

  • Have a credit report free of fraudulent accounts.
  • Get copies of documents related to the theft of your identity (example, applications used to open new accounts or transaction records) if you give the company a valid police report.
  • Stop the collection of fraudulent debts.

Liabilities
When trying to limit your loss from identity theft, various laws limit your liability for fraudulent debts caused by identity theft. These include:

  • Fraudulent credit card charges: You cannot be held liable for more than $50 for fraudulent purchases made with your credit card, as long as you let the credit card company know within 60 days of when the credit card statement with the fraudulent charges was sent to you.
  • Lost or stolen ATM/debit card: If your ATM or debit card is lost or stolen, you may not be held liable for more than $50 for the misuse of your card, as long as you notify the bank or credit union within two business days after you realize the card is missing. If you do not report the loss of your card promptly, your liability may increase.
  • Fraudulent electronic withdrawals: If fraudulent electronic withdrawals are made from your bank or credit union account, and your ATM or debit card has not been lost or stolen, you are not liable, as long as you notify the bank or credit union in writing of the error within 60 days of the date the bank or credit union account statement with the fraudulent withdrawals was sent to you.
  • Fraudulent checks: Under most state laws, you are liable for just a limited amount for fraudulent checks issued on your bank or credit union account, as long as you notify the bank or credit union promptly. Contact your state banking or consumer protection agency for more information.
  • Fraudulent new accounts: Under most state laws, you are not liable for any debt incurred on fraudulent accounts opened in your name and without your permission. Contact your state attorney general’s office for more information.
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