We have talked about what identity theft is, and why it is bad. But what should I do if I am a victim of ID theft?
As soon as you find out that you are a victim of identity theft, you need to take a few immediate steps. First, call the fraud department of the companies where the fraud occurred – your bank, credit card issuer, etc. – to report the fraud and to freeze or close the accounts. Then, change the logins, passwords and PINS for your accounts.
Whoa… That’s a lot!
Wait, that’s just the beginning. Once you have done that, you should contact the credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – and set up a fraud alert. This means that lenders will be informed about your identity theft, and they can take extra precautions to verify the identity of anyone using your information to open new accounts or apply for loans. You should also get a copy of your credit report, and review it thoroughly for any errors. And if you find anything suspicious, be sure to lock or freeze your credit until you fix it.
Do I need to report my identity theft to someone in the government, or the police?
Excellent question, Sooper Cooper – that is the next step. You should report any identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission – which can easily be done online, at their website IdentityTheft.gov. They help with recovering from ID theft by providing information on the steps you need to take, the forms for filing any reports and disputing fraudulent charges, etc. Once this is done, you can go to your local police office with a copy of your FTC Identity Theft Report, and inform them about the crime.