What to Do If Your Identity Is Stolen: 14 Steps

After you ’ ve received calls from collections agencies and discovered multiple citation cards and bank accounts have been opened in your name, the reality hits you : Your identity has been stolen. If you become a victim of identity larceny, you should take contiguous action .

Identity theft can happen to you even if you’re careful

But what ’ s the inaugural thing you need to do ? To start, a fraudster could have respective pieces of your personally identifiable information ( PII ). This is unique, sensitive information like your Social Security number that can enable person to commit more than one type of fraud in your name.

You ’ re likely wondering how your PII was stolen. It ’ second authoritative to remember that even if you ’ ve been diligent in trying to keep your personal information private, cybercrimes like the Equifax data transgress show your information can calm be vulnerable assorted ways. Take the case of three men in Florida who were sentenced in 2017 for conspiracy and aggravated identity larceny. The ID larceny occurred when one of the defendants worked at a baby doctor ’ mho exercise and stole the PII of patients, their parents and guardians, more than 13,000 people in all .

In this article, we ’ ll partake 14 steps you can take to help stop an identity thief from continuing to use your identity, along with extra recovery actions you can take, depending on the type of identity fraud you may have experienced .

Fair Credit Reporting Act: What to do about identity theft

If you discover you ’ re a victim of ID larceny, you have specific rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act ( FCRA ). These rights include :

  • Placing fraud alerts with the three major U.S. credit reporting agencies (CRAs), also commonly known as the credit bureaus.
  • Getting copies of your credit reports from the three CRAs.
  • Placing a security freeze on your credit report.
  • Obtaining documents related to fraudulent transactions or accounts opened using your personal information.
  • Obtaining information from debt collectors.
  • Blocking the reporting of damaging information to the CRAs so it doesn’t appear in your credit reports.
  • Stopping businesses from reporting inaccurate information to the CRAs.

Plus, there are extra steps you can take to help ensure an identity thief international relations and security network ’ thymine continuing to use your identity .

  • Contacting the companies and banks where you know identity fraud occurred.
  • Reporting the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
  • Filing a report of the identity theft with local law enforcement.
  • Contacting the IRS, if you suspect tax-related identity theft.
  • Reaching out to your healthcare insurance and medical providers.
  • Placing a flag on your driver’s license or state ID.
  • Cleaning up your accounts.

What to do if your identity is stolen

If you ’ re the victim of identity larceny, there are important steps you need to take to help stop an identity thief from continuing to commit fraud in your name, according to the FTC. Act fast .

1. Contact the companies and banks where you know identity fraud occurred.

Call the fraud department at the companies and fiscal institutions where you know the identity thief used your personal information. contribution of this step may include close or freezing your accounts that have been compromised .

2. Contact the credit reporting agencies and place fraud alerts.

You will need to contact at least one of the three major CRAs : Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. The means you contact is required to contact the other two and share data. But you may want to reach out to each CRA individually to be certain they are on alert angstrom soon as possible that you ’ ve been a victim of identity larceny. The CRAs roll up information about you and how you use credit, a well as whether any clientele has turned your debt over to a collections agency or you ’ ve filed for bankruptcy .

You ’ ll want to request a fraud alert, which will concluding one year. This will make it more challenging for person to open fresh accounts using your identifying information. once a fraud alert has been placed, a business must verify your ID before issuing credit to the person requesting it. You can apply for a fraud alarm in all the ways listed below ( phone, on-line, and mail ) .

If you ’ ve become a victim of identity larceny, you besides can request an prolong imposter alert that lasts for seven years .

Equifax Alerts
800-525-6285
Equifax Consumer
Fraud Division
P.O. Box 105069
Atlanta, GA 30374

Experian Fraud Center
888-397-3742
Experian
P.O. Box 9554
Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion Fraud Alert
888-909-8872
TransUnion Fraud Victim
Assistance Department
P.O. Box 2000
Chester, PA 19016

3. Ask for copies of your credit reports.

After placing the initial fraud alert, you can request a free copy of your recognition report from each recognition report agency. It ’ second significant to look at all three reports to help ensure you ’ re not missing anything crucial — because each agency ’ s report may be different. Review the reports cautiously for transactions you don ’ t greet and follow the steps below to remedy them .

An offer imposter alert allows you to receive two unblock credit reports from each of the credit chest of drawers within 12 months after you placed the alert .

4. Place a security freeze on your credit report.

If you know your identifying data has been stolen, you may want to place a security freeze on your credit report, which will prohibit a credit chest of drawers from releasing any information in your credit report without your press out approval. Because a security freeze prevents prospective creditors from accessing your credit file, this could provide an extra layer of protection by preventing a CRA from approving new credit, loans, or early services in your name without your mandate .

5. Obtain documents related to fraudulent transactions or accounts opened using your personal information.

You have the right to ask creditors or other businesses for copies of any applications or other records related to transactions or accounts connected to the consumption of your personal data for identity larceny. You must ask for this in write and may need to provide proof of your identity, a patrol report, and an FTC Identity Theft Report.

6. Obtain information from debt collectors.

You have the right to ask debt collectors for any information about debt incurred ascribable to the identity larceny .

7. Block the reporting of damaging information in credit reports.

You besides have the right to ask CRAs to block any information in your file that is the consequence of identity larceny. For example, an identity thief may make purchases in your name and never pay for them. If you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate ask the citation chest of drawers to block this data, it will remain in your credit report .

8. Prevent businesses from reporting information resulting from identity theft.

When you reach out to companies where you know an identity thief used your identifying information, necessitate that they stop reporting the inaccurate information to the credit chest of drawers, arsenic well as report the revised, discipline information. You ’ ll want to identify what information you don ’ thyroxine want reported and provide a replicate of your FTC Identity Theft Report .

9. Report ID theft to the FTC.

While you don ’ t need to report a stolen credit calling card to the FTC, you should report identity larceny to the FTC right away. That way the FTC can create a report that you can use to prove the ID larceny to businesses and fiscal institutions. To do this, you can fill out a report on-line or call 877-438-4338 .

10. Reach out to local law enforcement.

The FTC says you may besides want to alert your local police department. When you go to your local law enforcement office, bring a transcript of your FTC Identity Theft Report, a government-issued photograph ID, proofread of your stream address, and any proof that your identity has been used for identity larceny — such as collections notices. Don ’ triiodothyronine forget to ask for a replicate of the patrol report in case you need it .

You besides can file an on-line complaint with the FBI ’ s Internet Crime Complaint Center, which gives victims of cybercrime a report mechanism that alerts authorities .

11. Contact the IRS.

Contact the IRS to make sure you aren ’ t the victim of tax-related identity larceny. person with a combination of your name, date of birth, and Social Security phone number could file a tax come back in your name, hoping to receive a deceitful refund. And make certain you respond to any notices from the IRS that may alert you to deceitful activity .

12. Alert your health insurance company and medical care providers.

While identity larceny is more frequently associated with fiscal fraud, it besides can infiltrate your medical concern. Contact your checkup care providers to make surely the identity thief hasn ’ thymine used your policy information to receive healthcare services in your name. An identity thief who has your personal information could assume your identity when seeing a doctor, receiving prescription drugs, having operating room, or visiting an emergency board .

13. Reach out to your state’s DMV or licensing agency.

An identity thief could use your driver ’ south license or country ID total to impersonate you. They can use your driver ’ mho license count on a check, during a traffic intercept, or to make a bogus license. If you lose your driver ’ second license or submit ID, ask your department of state ’ second DMV or licensing agency to place a flag on your license number to help put law enforcement on notice .

14. Clean up all of your accounts.

You ’ ll besides need to clean up things on a more basic level. Contact your earphone and utility program companies, and any other places where you have accounts. Make certain you ’ ve cancelled all deceitful accounts and, if you need them, outdoors new accounts — with newfangled account numbers. Remember to create strong, complex passwords for each report .

Additional steps for identity theft recovery

After you ’ ve taken the steps outlined above, you ’ re on your way to responding to identity larceny. But it doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate diaphragm there. You ’ ll need a convalescence design to help resolve other damaging effects and protect yourself going forward .

If an identity thief has sensitive personal information like your Social Security numeral, there are different types of ID larceny they may commit. Depending on the character, you may need to take early steps such as contacting the Social Security Administration to report unauthorized use of your Social Security number, sorting through debt collector requests, or clearing your name of criminal charges .

As mentioned above, visiting the FTC ’ sulfur identity theft web site can provide more avail in creating a comprehensive identity larceny recovery plan .

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