Identity Stolen? What's Your Next Move?

Barbara Swarthow - Thu 30 March 2017 -

If you're identity has been stolen, here is what you should do...

Place a Fraud Alert on your credit file.

Contact any one of the three major credit bureaus - Experian, Equifax, TransUnion - and place a Fraud Alert on your credit file. This can help prevent anyone else from opening new credit in your name. Once you've placed a fraud alert with any of the three major credit bureaus the other two are automatically notified.

However, there is a downside to this. Should you at any point - during the fraud alert period - decide you want to open up a new credit account, you will have to verify your identity. The credit company will have to contact the credit bureau, the credit bureau will contact you - usually at home, and then you have to give them the ok. You can't get instant credit at the counter anymore,
but no one else can either.

Note: Fraud alerts and victim statements expire; you need to renew them periodically. Ask each bureau about its policy.

Close the Accounts.

Close the accounts that have been opened or accessed fraudulently. These include new utility services, credit cards, bank accounts, service memberships, car loans, ISPs, loan accounts, etc. Place a stop on all checks so that they don't clear the bank.

Use the FTC's Identity Theft Victim Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.

Note: When opening new accounts it would be a good idea to use a PIN or Password on the account so you can access the information securely.

File A Police Report.

File a police report with your local police department or where the identity theft took place. Make sure you get a copy of the report so that you can submit it to your creditors and others as proof of the crime.

Note: Be prepared to give details when filing the report. Follow through with the investigation.

File Your Complaint.

File your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Law enforcement agencies use the FTC database of identity theft cases for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps them learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that they can better assist you.

Stay Organized.

Once you have completed the 4 steps above, don't just sit back and relax. It's not even close to over. It's time to stay organized and be informed as to how your issue is being handled.

Call the investigators, call the police station, ask questions, take notes, keep your files in order.

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

In the eyes of your creditors, you're guilty. You have to prove that you're innocent, that you are a victim. With any other type of theft you'd be shown empathy and sympathy...Not with Identity Theft!

Your creditors don't know whether you're telling the truth - that you're an identity theft victim - or just trying to avoid paying them. They want their money - As if you didn't know. :) They will always take the offensive.

Don't Let It Happen Again

Keep in mind someone out there has your information. Your social security number, date of birth, driver's license number, maiden name, parents' names, address, phone numbers, etc., etc.

You're information is out there. Protect yourself from future occurrences. Here is what you can do:

  • Shield yourself by having the experienced experts in the field from a division of the world's leading risk consulting company on your side with the Identity Theft Shield.
  • Visit our Prevention Tips page (https://www.valtho.org/credit-monitoring-services-reviewed/) and learn common techniques to help avoid being an identity theft victim.