A vicious identity thief can ruin your life from the comfort of his or her pajamas. These cowards cause rage, anxiety, and maddening hopelessness. Identify thieves are willing to trawl through dumpsters for bank statements. It’s ugly desperation. You don’t have to wait for the next crime to happen. You truly can end the deviance and begin repairing the damage. You’ll make endless phone calls, start countless letter writing campaigns, but you will get your life back. Information is your best weapon. Perform a threat assessment. Does the criminal have your Social Security information? Does he or she know your bank account numbers?
Bank Account Tampering:
1) Shut down your electronic banking capability immediately to prevent further tampering. In a world full of identity theft the convenience of checking your balance over the computer is outweighed by the tremendous risk it entails. It is very easy for someone who knows your banking information like an ex to resent your password electronically. An identity thief can change your e-mail address and have the password sent to them.
2) File a dispute with the bank by filling out identity theft affidavits at your local branch.
3) File a police report to bolster your case. You may have to visit the economic crimes unit to talk to an investigator. Hopefully they will be more compliant in your case than they were with mine.
4) Keep after the security team at the bank to find out their progress. There are a lot of cases similar to yours and if you’re not assertive your case will sit in a pile of paperwork.
5) Talk to an attorney if you can afford the retainer, especially if you know the person. While identity theft is a crime many law enforcement agencies regard it as a civil matter if you know the offending party. If they got everything you’ll need to go to your local Legal Aid Society.
Credit Report Fraud/Credit Card Fraud:
1) Order your credit report from all three bureaus. It’s not hard. I recommend calling each of the credit bureaus rather than doing it online because you may get hold of them only to find out that your address has been changed. The last thing you want is the individual who is stealing from you to get a copy of your credit report and have even more things to use against you.
2) Put an initial fraud alert on each of your credit reports. These last for ninety days and can be refreshed after that period. A merchant will have to call you before checking into your credit history.
2) Survey the damage and call the vendors that sold the stolen goods. You will have to fill out more affidavits from the company and send them a police report to have any hope of winning your dispute. If you lose you will ultimately be responsible for paying for the goods or risk further credit damage.
3) File a police report to substantiate your claim. If you can’t obtain one or file charges because the police insist it’s a civil matter it’s time to lawyer up. It’s your only chance.
The steps don’t differ too much from those stated above. Expect the same resistance from law enforcement. Even though check fraud is a felony act the police usually don’t go after anyone for small amounts of money. Your author recommends going to the local courthouse and filing a civil suit. Don’t get a lawyer involved because their retainer will in most cases be more than the amount of the suit.
Getting redemption will be easier if you aren’t affiliated with the person who stole from you, but if you are then dig in for a long struggle. At times it will seem like no one listens or cares but as long as you keep asserting yourself things will turn around. Be confident that you’re on the right side of the law and that justice, while slow, eventually comes around. By far the most annoying feature of what you’ll encounter is people repeatedly asking you whether or not you gave them permission to take the money. Keep a level head even when the people who are supposed to assist you refuse to do their jobs. All it takes is one person in power to make a difference.