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Examples of Identity Theft

There are a variety of forms of personal identification that a thief may steal from you. If you believe you have a been a victim of identity theft, be sure to check all of your accounts. Here's what to do if you discover someone has been abusing your accounts:

Stolen Checks

If you have had checks stolen or bank accounts set up fraudulently, report it to the check verification companies. Close your checking and savings accounts and obtain new account numbers. Give the bank a secret password for your account (not your mother’s maiden name).

ATM Cards

If your ATM card has been stolen or is compromised, get a new card, account number and password. Do not use your old password. When creating a password, don’t use common numbers like the last four digits of your Social Security number or your birth date.

Fraudulent Change of Address

Notify the local postal inspector if you suspect an identity theft has filed a change of address with the post office or has used the mail to commit credit or bank fraud. Find out where the fraudulent credit cards were sent. Notify the local postmaster for the address to forward all mail in your name to your own address. You may also need to talk to the mail carrier.

Social Security Number Misuse

Call the Social Security Administration to report fraudulent use of your social security number. As a last resort, you might want to change the number. The SSA will only change it if you fit their fraud victim criteria. Also, order a copy of your Earnings and Benefits statement and check it for accuracy.


If you have a passport, notify the passport office in writing to be on the lookout for anyone ordering a new passport fraudulently.

Phone Service

If your long distance calling card has been stolen or you discover fraudulent charges on your bill, cancel the account and open a new one. Provide a password, which must be used anytime the account is charged.

Driver License Number Misuse

You may need to change your driver’s license number if someone is using yours as identification on bad checks. Call the state or District of Columbia office of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to see if another license was issued in your name. Put a fraud alert on your license. Go to your local DMV to request a new number. Also, fill out the DMV’s complaint form to begin the fraud investigation process. Send supporting documents with the complaint form to the nearest DMV investigation office.

False Civil and Criminal Judgements

Sometimes victims of identity theft are wrongfully accused of crimes committed by the imposter. If a civil judgment has been entered in your name for actions taken by your imposter, contact the court where the judgment was entered and report that you are a victim of identity theft. If you are wrongfully prosecuted for criminal charges, contact the state Department of Justice and the FBI. Ask how to clear your name.