6 Steps to Handle Identity Theft

ID-theft

You’ve seen numerous web pages and blogs about what you can do to prevent your Identity from being stolen, but what are the steps you can take if you are already a victim of identity theft? Approximately 15 million US residents have their identities stolen each year. Stats like this make identity theft the fastest growing crime in the country. Although there may be an infinite number of steps you can take to prevent it, sometimes identity theft is inevitable. So what do you do if you are a victim of identity theft?

1. Monitor Everything

From now on, make sure you monitor and document all contact that is made between yourself and your financial institutions. Every phone call needs to be recorded or written down and documented. Every email, saved and archived. Every letter or document you receive in the mail must be put away and kept in a safe place. This way you can keep track of all of your accounts, who you talked with, and when.

2. Fraud Alert

Immediately after you realize you have been a victim of identity theft call one of the credit bureaus (numbers listed below.) Explain the situation to them. Tell them your identity has been stolen and you wish to put a fraud alert on your account. Confirm with them that they will contact the other 2 bureaus as well.

With the fraud alert, you will receive a free credit report. The alert will remain on your account for 90 days (or more if you wish to extend it.) Now every time credit is applied for in your name, the report will come back with a fraud alert. The applicant will be asked security questions and/or to provide proof of identity in order to become approved.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285

Experian: 1-888-397-3742

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289

 

3. Contact Your Accounts

Contact all of your financial accounts and let them know you had fallen victim to identity theft. Tell them you had already placed a fraud alert with the credit bureaus. Make sure your accounts are all where they need to be. If some money is missing or something seems off in one of your accounts, make sure you notify them as soon as possible.

Change all of your passwords and pins. Try not to use the same password for every account. This can make it really easy for your identity thief to log into all of your accounts. If need be, close old accounts and open new ones.

4. Call the Federal Trade Commission

The FTC processes complaints by consumers who have fallen victim to identity theft. The FTC will provide you with the necessary steps you need to take in order to resolve your identity theft issue. You may also fill out the FTC’s online form.

After completing your call or online form, you will be given a report called an Identity Theft Affidavit. Take this report to the police station for our next step.

5. File a Police Report

With your Identity Theft Affidavit in hand, go to your local police station and file a police report. It is very important to always file a police report if you believe your identity has been stolen. Although the chances are extremely slim to none that the police will catch the responsible party, the police report can help you in the future when dealing with creditors or financial institutions. After you file your police report, make sure you make a copy for yourself.

6. Get Credit monitoring

If you don’t have credit monitoring by now, get it! Credit monitoring is the best way to stay on top of your accounts and help prevent ID theft from happening. Just because you make have had your identity stolen once before only makes you more liable to have it stolen again. Make sure you are on top of your accounts.

Luckily for you, Better Qualified is giving away 3 months of credit monitoring for free! Our credit monitoring service includes a free credit report and free money manager. Just click the link here!

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