Recovering from identity theft can quickly become emotionally overwhelming and often seems nearly impossible to overcome. There are a few steps you need to take immediately when your identity is fraudulently used to help with moving on with your life while getting a fresh start.
Contact Your Bank and Financial Institutions
When you first determine you have been a victim of identity theft, contact your banks and any other financial institutions that are linked to your name, personal information and specifically, your social security number. Freeze all of your bank accounts and movable assets until you determine the root cause of the issue. Change all your passwords for online banking and have your bank block your debit cards and send you ones with new numbers.
Call Your Credit Card Companies Immediately
Call all of your credit card companies immediately to freeze all activity and to check for any activity that is not your own. Working with credit card companies who provide identity theft protection is highly recommended to avoid being charged for items you did not purchase yourself. If you have noticed fraudulent activity on a credit card, make sure the creditor is aware and can help you remove those charges. Go through your credit card account to check for any fraudulent activity you might not have noticed right away. Get the card deactivated and have them assign you a new card number.
File an Official Police Report
File an official police report and be sure to save all documents and records of the event. Filing an official police report allows you to have it on record that your identity has been stolen and that you have not been using your financial accounts personally. This gives you documentation to use in the future if you need to fight to get charges removed. If you are having trouble making your case of getting charges removed, you may also need to get an attorney like Eric Harron to help you with your case.
Contact the IRS
Contact the IRS to let them know that your identity has been compromised. They can put a note on your account so that they can easily identify if anyone else tries to file a tax return in your name or social security number.
Make a Report With the FTC
Contact the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to file an official report by calling (1-877-IDTHEFT). Filing an official report helps additional studies on fraud and identity theft.
Restoring Your Credit After Identity Theft
Restoring your credit after dealing with identity theft is never a simple task. Consider working with professionals to consolidate bills or with credit card companies to erase charges that were not yours personally. It is possible to work with debt solution professionals to help with restoring your credit after it has been damaged. Let all the credit reporting agencies know that you
Invest in a Credit Monitoring Service
Consider the option of investing in a credit monitoring service in the future to help better protect yourself from potential fraud or identity theft. When you have a credit monitoring service in place, it is much easier to keep track of any purchases or unusual activity within your financial accounts at all times from just about any location. You can get notifications anytime a company makes a credit inquiry or a new account is opened in your name. This will help you to block or cancel new accounts before they have significant activity on them.
Knowing how to stop identity theft immediately after it occurs while also understanding how to rebuild your own credit is a way for you to live a life worry-free and less focused on your financial security.