Discovering your identity has been stolen means you need to act. There are some things you need to do if you are a victim of identity theft. While we can’t possible cover all of them in one article, we will get you started.
The very first thing you should do is contact the fraud department of the three major credit bureaus. You only need to notify one of them and they will notify the rest. Your accounts will be flagged, which means creditors need to call you prior to extending credit.
It will be important for you to monitor your credit reports, and freezing your credit reports is also a good idea. This prevents anyone is about to issue credit from accessing your files except if you give them permission.
You need to contact law enforcement as soon as possible. Report the crime and provide as much information as you can. List all the fraudulent accounts and get a copy of the report. It is this report that protects you from being liable for future charges in your name. If your credit report shows new accounts opened by the theft, you need to immediately contact those creditors.
You should check with your bank to see if there has been any fraudulent activity. It’s a good idea to close your accounts and reopen so you have new account numbers. The slight hassle now is far less than that if they manage to drain your bank accounts.
If your ATM card was stolen it’s important to know that although you have some protection the act still leaves you responsible to some degree. The amount of liability depends on how long it took for you to report the crime. Another excellent reason why you should watch your bank accounts regularly.
Even if you don’t have a passport you need to contact Passport Services and let them know you have been a victim of identity theft. That way they can flag you and ensure no one obtains a fraudulent passport in your name.
Cellular phone services are one of the most common fraudulent acts carried out by the thief. If you find the thief has racked up large phone bills in your name it’s important to contact the provider for instructions on how you need to proceed.
Keep in mind that medical identity theft, driver’s license theft, and theft that involves other family members are all common so keep a close watch on all of your finances if you have been a victim of identity theft, and continue to be diligent until you are certain there is no more activity.