Identity Theft

Identity Stolen? First Steps

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world today and many people who have their identities stolen do not know where to turn. If you find out that your identity has been compromised, there are a number of steps that you need to take to mitigate the damage

Contact Credit Bureaus

As soon as you suspect that your identity has been stolen, you should call the three major credit bureaus immediately. The three major credit bureaus are TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. When you contact the credit bureaus, request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit profile. Once you place a fraud alert on your account, the identity thief will not be able to open any more accounts in your name.

Contact the Authorities

in addition to calling the credit bureaus, you should also contact the authorities. This can involve calling the local police and filing a police report as well as contacting the Federal Trade Commission. While the authorities may not be able to catch the thief, this helps your chances of getting the problems with your credit fixed, as you can show that you filed a report.

Close Accounts

When you have a problem with identity theft, it is also a good idea to close out the affected accounts. For example, if someone is using your credit card, call the credit card company immediately and close your account. The credit card company may simply shut down the existing card and issue you a new number.

Check Your Credit

In addition to closing out your accounts and reporting the issue, you should also get a copy of your credit report. Every time something happens that is is associated with your credit, it will be reported on your credit report. When you get a copy of credit report, you can see where any additional problems may be located. This way, you can know exactly which accounts to close and find out more about what happened to your credit profile.

Preventing Future Theft

Once you have been victimized by an identity thief, you may want to prevent it from happening again in the future. One way to prevent this from happening is to subscribe to a credit monitoring service such as LifeLock. LifeLock continually monitors your credit profile and notifies you if anyone tries to open an account in your name. By taking these preventive steps, you can eliminate the chances of having your identity stolen again in the future