Identity Theft, Fraud and Cyber Crimes Victim Support
If you have been a victim of Identity Theft or Fraud, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is available to help. For immediate assistance, call our Hotline. The hotline phones are answered 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including weekends and holidays.
CBI 24 Hour Identity Theft & Fraud Hotline
1-855-443-3489 (toll free)
If you discover that you have been a victim of ID theft or fraud, there are some important first steps to take. Here is an overview of a few of the most critical steps.
Step 1: Report to Law Enforcement
Report the crime to your local law enforcement agency. In Colorado, you may report in the jurisdiction where you live or in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred. This can be a Police Department or Sheriff's Office. You may report on-line or in person. Some Police Agencies have Cop Shops in the community that will take your report. As a victim, you may need advocacy to report as some law enforcement agencies do not know that they must take a report or do not understand what kind of report to initiate. The CBI victim advocate will be able to help with this process.
Step 2: Report to Financial Institutions
If the crime involved your credit card, debit card or your bank account, you will need to report to your financial institution right away. This step is critical and must be done quickly to avoid a situation in which you as the victim become responsible for fraudulent charges. Your bank or credit union may suggest closing your accounts and opening new ones.
Step 3: Notify the Credit Reporting Agencies
If the crime involved someone using your financial information or opening new credit accounts in your name, it is important to notify the credit reporting agencies, request a copy of your credit report and place a fraud alert or credit freeze on your accounts. This will reduce the risk of anyone getting additional credit in your name. You may dispute any fraudulent entries on your credit history and have them removed. Call our Victim Assistance Program for help with this process.
Step 4: Report to Agencies Involved
This step includes reporting to any agencies that might be involved in the ID Theft. For example, if your passport was stolen, you will need to report to the Department of State. If the crime involves your driver’s license, you will need to report to the DMV. If it involves someone opening utilities under your name, you will need to notify the utility company that the account is fraudulent.
Step 5: Report to the Federal Trade Commission and to the FBI (optional)
If the ID Theft or Fraud was perpetrated using the Internet, you may report the crime to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center (www.IC3.gov)
Many victims of ID Theft or Fraud, choose to report to the Federal Trade Commission (www.FTC.gov) This report, often called the FTC Affidavit could be helpful in correcting the damage done by the crime. A number of agencies accept the FTC Complaint as verification that the victim has reported. This report does not take the place of a police report; it is an additional report that can be helpful.
The Federal Trade Commission and the FBI make information about their reports available to law enforcement agencies across the US. This helps tremendously when law enforcement is trying to identify trends in crime or in cases where they know an ID thief or scam artist has multiple victims and need assistance in identifying those victims. In those cases, law enforcement may contact a victim and inform them of an open case, increasing the chances that the case will proceed.
Step 6: Correct Criminal and Driving Histories
If the ID thief has used a victim’s social security number or name when arrested for a crime or when given a traffic ticket, the victim will need to take steps to get his/ her criminal and driving history corrected. This process varies greatly from state to state. If you suspect that someone has used your ID in this way, contact the CBI’s Victim Assistance Program immediately. We will walk you through the process and help you restore your good name.
Step 7: Correct Wage History
If the ID thief used your social security number to work or to file an unemployment claim, you will need to work with the Department of Labor to have the fraudulent wages removed from your work history. Once this correction is made, you may need to contact the IRS, the Social Security Administration Disability Office or other benefit programs to notify them of the fraud. CBI’s victim assistance program can help you through this entire process.
Step 8: Don’t Give Up
There is a lot for a victim to do after an Identity Theft. It can feel daunting, challenging, time consuming and unfair to address all of these issues. At times, you may feel overwhelmed and be tempted to just stop. Please remember, these are necessary steps to restore your good name and to ensure your safety in the future. There are a few things that you can do to make it easier for you:
- Keep good records of who you call and what you discuss
- Follow up phone calls with a written letter or email so that you have a copy of what was said
- When sending information, send copies. You should keep the originals. If a law enforcement officer or prosecutor needs an original, ask them to sign that they have it, and keep a copy of the document in your files
- When mailing information, take the letter to the post office and request a return receipt or send using certified mail
- Keep a file in a secure and accessible location with all of the information related to the crime
- When you feel frustrated or confused, call your victim advocate for help and support
- Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Try to get enough sleep, exercise and healthy foods. Call on your family and friends to support you through this challenging time. Spend time doing activities that help you feel peaceful and renewed.
A few quick tips for victims of Fraud:
If you wired money to someone and quickly realized it was a scam, call the wire service. If the criminals have not yet picked up your money, they may be able to stop the wire and save your money.
If you realize too late that you have just given your personal identifying information or your financial information to a scam artist, call your financial institution right away. They may be able to stop any transactions and protect your accounts. Call the CBI for assistance with additional crime prevention options.
If you know it is a scam, but the scammers won’t stop calling you there are a couple of options. First: don’t engage with them hoping to get more information or reason with them. Just hang up on them. If they are sending text messages or emails, just delete them without opening them. Consider talking with your phone carrier about getting call blocking services. Some carriers offer this service free. Others may require a police report to offer the service at no charge. Your local police department can provide you with a phone harassment police report.
Report suspected scams to CBI through our 24 Hour Hotline or by calling our Victim Assistance Program.
CBI 24 Hour Identity Theft and Fraud Hotline:
1-855-443-3489 (toll free)
Victim Assistance Program:
Email: CBI.StopIDTheft@ state.co.us