Nearly 50% of U.S. consumers have experienced identity theft. It’s such a common occurrence that it’s essential to recognize the signs of identity theft and know what to do if it happens to you.
Maybe you’ve fallen victim to a scam or noticed irregularities in your credit report. Regardless of how it happened, a victim of identity theft should take immediate action to protect themselves from further damage. Let’s review the step-by-step process for identity theft help.
Get your personalized action plan
IdentityTheft.gov is a federal website that helps individuals recover from identity theft. It can help you report what happened to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and it will create a recovery plan for your situation. This includes specialized forms of identity theft like child identity theft and medical identity theft.
Notify companies of your stolen identity
It’s time to call your credit card company, bank, or wherever the fraud occurred and explain that unauthorized charges were made on your account. They can close or freeze your account to stop the fraudster from making more charges. Then you’ll want to change all passwords and PIN numbers.
Place a fraud alert on your credit reports
Creating a fraud alert is free. In short, a fraud alert makes companies verify your identity before they issue new credit.
You can set up the alert with any of the credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. Once you issue the fraud alert to one bureau, they will notify the other two.
Pro Tip: If you haven’t already, request a free credit report from any credit bureau. You can review the credit report to ensure that all accounts and transactions are valid.
File a police report
You may also want to tell the police that someone stole your identity. Bring a copy of the FTC Identity Theft Report and any evidence that you have of the theft. Don’t forget to ask for a copy of the police report, as this documentation may help you resolve identity theft issues.
What happens next?
If you were a victim of financial fraud, then you will want to consider doing the following actions:
- Monitor your credit reports for errors. You can even sign up for a credit monitoring service.
- Update passwords and consider enabling two-factor authentication, which would send a code to a phone number or email to verify your identity.
- Close new accounts that you didn’t create.
- Remove unauthorized charges from your account.
- Make any corrections to your credit report.
- Notify debt collectors that you don’t owe the debts they are trying to collect.
- Report a misused social security number.
Consider having a financial consultant help you with identity theft
Many people feel overwhelmed when they learn their identity was stolen. It can affect your entire livelihood, and recovering isn’t always easy. Identity theft can cause multiple debt collectors, your name on criminal charges, and other issues.
We value and protect our clients from perpetrators like identity thieves. By contacting our firm for assistance, you will get a team handling all aspects of identity theft and protecting your future.
Please reach out to Improve Credit LLC to get a consultation about your circumstances. We look forward to helping you restore your credit.