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Privacy and Security

How to Report Identity Theft and Fraud

If you suspect that your personal and/or financial information has been compromised, Merrill Lynch recommends taking these steps to report identity theft and fraud:


Possible Signs of Identity Theft and Faud.


Notify the authorities about the identity theft and fraud
It is recommended that you file a police report where you suspect the identity theft and fraud occurred. The local police station may not have an "identity theft" report per se, but ask if you can file a "miscellaneous incident" report. It is critical that you either obtain a copy of this report or get a copy of the report's number.

You can also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission, a government agency charged with protecting consumers. Although they are not a law enforcement agency, they can share your identity theft report with law enforcement agencies for investigation purposes.

Federal Trade Commission - consumer complaints: www.consumer.gov/idtheft or 1-877-IDTHEFT

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Contact the financial institution associated with your account
  • Call your standard customer service number and ask to speak to the security and fraud department.
  • They will take down your information over the phone, but ask for fraud dispute forms—it is critical you report your identity theft and fraud in writing.
  • Keep a log of all your calls, with whom you spoke and in what department (date/time).

When the matter is resolved, ask your financial institution to send you a letter stating that your account has been closed and discharged.

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Notify your other financial institutions
Although your other accounts may not be compromised, it is recommended that you make your other financial institutions aware of your identity theft. In case your problem is more widespread than you originally thought, they can place a fraud alert on your accounts and monitor for unusual activity.

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Contact the credit bureaus
There are three main credit reporting agencies in the U.S.: Equifax, Experian (formerly TRW) and TransUnion. They compile reports on an individual's credit history, such as how many credit accounts they have, the dollar amounts of these accounts, and an assessment of the individual's payment history (good or bad).

If you suspect identity theft and fraud, it is critical that you:

  • Contact one of the credit reporting agencies
  • Place a fraud alert with them

They will notify the other two agencies. You will receive a confirmation in the mail that a fraud alert has been placed with all three of them.

Credit Bureau Web Site Fraud Line
Equifax www.equifax.com 1-800-525-6285
Experian www.experian.com 1-888-397-3742
TransUnion www.transunion.com 1-800-680-7289

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If you need to report identity theft or fraud, or if you have questions, please call us at phone 1-800-MERRILL (637-7455), or contact your Financial Advisor.