Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.
How can you tell when someone has stolen your personal information?
- IRS informs you that more than one tax return has been filed in your name
- Unfamiliar charges on your credit card or bank statements
- You are arrested for a crime that someone else allegedly committed in your name
- Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use
- Sudden unexplained withdrawals from your bank account
These initial questions should always be asked, to ensure proper identity theft protection.
What should I do if my personal information is lost or stolen, however there are no indications of fraudulent activity on my accounts?
If personal items, such as wallet, social security card, or other personal financial information is lost or stolen, there are three things that you can do immediately to monitor your personal information:
- Place a fraud alert on your credit file
- Monitor your accounts for fraudulent activity
- Always exercise your right to access your credit report annually
If you find that there has been fraudulent activity on your account and personal information has been stolen the next steps are key to a positive outcome:
Immediate Steps to Identity Theft Protection
- Place an initial fraud alert
- Get a copy of your credit reports
- Create an identity fraud report system
Step 1 – Place Initial Fraud Alert
There are three credit agencies that keep records of your credit history. In the event of identity fraud, call one of the credit agencies to request a fraud alert on your credit report, and tell them to also notify the other two credit agencies also. This process will make it harder for thieves to open more accounts in your name. This initial fraud alert will remain active for 90 days.
Nationwide Credit Reporting Companies:
Step 2 – Get a Copy of Your Credit Reports
Annualcreditreport.com is the only free annual credit report that is entitled to you by law. The Fair Credit Reporting Act guarantees you access to your credit report from all three nationwide credit reporting companies, once every 12 months for free!
Step 3 – Create an Identity Fraud Report System
Throughout this process make sure to create telephone call log, and document filing system in order to get the best results. Also create a timeline with deadlines and always send letters by USPS certified mail, which are critical to a successful outcome.
Creating an Identity Theft Report Involves 3 Steps:
- Submit a complaint about the fraud on your account to the FTC. Print a copy of the report; it will print as an Identity Theft Affidavit.
- File a police report about the identity theft, and get a copy of the police report or the report number. Bring your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit when you file a police report.
- Attach your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit to your police report to make an Identity Theft Report.
Some companies require more information make sure you always check with the credit reporting company.
These are some basic steps to get you back on track after you after suffered identity fraud. Identity theft protection is something that we should all practice, to ensure that we won’t be victims of identity theft. You can also check this best identity theft guide to be safe from hackers and online scammers.
Please Be Safe and Be Protected Always!