Identity theft can happen to anyone at any time. Data breaches are common, and criminals are always searching for opportunities to steal your personal information. Here are a few simple steps you can take if you have been a victim of identity theft to help you deal with this unfortunate situation.
TAKE IMMIDIATE ACTION
As soon as you have confirmed your information has been compromised, contact the creditors to notify them of the fraudulent activity and let them know that it was caused by identity theft. Keep a log of all the actions you are taking so you have a record of all the paperwork involved with this process.
PLACE A FRAUD ALERT ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT
Contact the three major credit bureaus; Experian, Transunion, and Equifax to help prevent further problems. As a consumer, you have the option of placing a fraud alert on your credit report or even freeze it completely. A fraud alert forces potential lenders and creditors to take extra precautionary steps to verify your identity before approving any applications for new tradelines. This usually lasts for 90 days and can be renewed if necessary. If you place a credit freeze, no one can access your credit report until it is lifted.
FILE AN IDENTITY THEFT REPORT WITH THE AUTHORITIES
Most creditors expect you to contact your local law enforcement agency to officially file an identity theft report. This document will expedite the process of clearing your name with the creditors and bureaus, so make sure you provide them with as much detailed information as you can. It is also recommended to file a report with the Federal Trade Commission. www.identitytheft.gov/#/
SUBMIT A DISPUTE WITH THE CREDIT BUREAUS
File a dispute regarding the fraudulent accounts with the credit bureaus along with a copy of the identity theft report. The bureaus are required to respond to your dispute within 30 days of the time they receive your request. It is recommended that you monitor your credit report every month to keep an eye out for any potentially fraudulent activity moving forward.
CONTACT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION AND IRS
Having your identity stolen goes beyond your credit report. Contact your local social security administration office and IRS to file a report and prevent any unauthorize use of your personal information.
Identity theft is an extremely stressful experience, and we are here to help. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or need further assistance.