Dealing With Identity Theft

About 10 percent of Americans over the age of 16 are victims of identity theft every year. There is a strong possibility that, at some point, your identity will be stolen. While everyone hopes it will never happen to them, it’s always best to be prepared. Here are the essential steps to take if your identityis stolen.

Alert the Bank

Alert the company that is associated with the compromised information. Notify them of the situation and ask to freeze any affected accounts. Be sure to change all log in information and PIN numbers to ensure security.

Call a Credit Bureau

Put a freeze on your credit report by alerting either Experian, TransUnion or Equifax of the fraud. Activating a freeze is free and will last for 90 days, after which you can renew if necessary.

Report to FTC

Contact the Federal Trade Commission (www.ftc.gov) to file a report with as many details as possible. They will assist in sorting out the recovery process.

Call Local Police

File a report with your local police. Have as much information as possible on hand. This way, in the event of legal action or debt collections as a result of the fraud, you have official records clearing your name.

Contact Businesses

Contact the businesses that were subjected to fraudulent purchases to get the charges removed. You may have to supply the paperwork from the FTC and/or local police as evidence of your identity being stolen.