Get aggressive if you suspect ID theft

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Dear Dr. Don,
I have been reported to ChexSystems for an account that somebody opened and abused using my Social Security number, but with a different name. I have called the bank and they have no record of the account. What can I do?
— Frank DeFrauded

Dear Frank,
The FTC Facts for Consumers guide “Take Charge: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft” is a good first stop in your battle against this theft of your identity.

You can dispute the information in a ChexSystems report just like you can dispute information in a credit report. Just like any other consumer reporting agency, ChexSystems has to follow the provisions of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Because you’ve experienced fraud, now is a good time to review all your credit reports and your ChexSystems report. The Bankrate features “How to get your free credit report” and “How to get your specialty consumer reports” tell you how to get your free annual report.

Because you suspect fraud, you can get a free report directly from the CRAs. Bankrate provides that contact information as well.

Over the short term, you can get free credit monitoring as part of the provisions of a class action suit. The Bankrate feature “TransUnion settlement offers free credit monitoring” provides all the details.

Use that as a stopgap measure while you put fraud alerts and security freezes on your reports. An earlier column, “Security freeze better than fraud alert,” explains both.