We’ve learned that every year millions of accounts are compromised and what the warning signs are. But what do you do when your identity is compromised? Who do you call? What are the first steps? We’ve come up with 3 things to do once you suspect or learn your identity has been compromised.
1. Place an initial fraud alert. Call a credit reporting company (see numbers below). Report that you are an identity theft victim and ask the company to put a fraud alert on your credit file. Confirm that the company you call will contact the other two companies. Next, mark your calendar. The initial fraud alert stays on your report for 90 days. Record the dates you made calls or sent letters. You will also want to keep the copies of letters for your files.
2. Order your credit reports. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting companies. The credit reporting company will explain your rights and how you can receive a free report. Order the report and ask the company to show only the last four digits of your social security number. If you know what accounts have been tampered with you can contact the related business. Talk to someone in their fraud department and follow up in writing. Record the dates you made contact and keep copies of letters for your files.
3. Create an identity theft report. While this might seem like an odd and lengthy step it can be very beneficial. By filing an identity theft report you can use the report to: get fraudulent information removed from your credit report, stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft, place an extended fraud alert on your credit report, and get information from companies about accounts that were opened or misused.
- a. You can create you identity theft affidavit on the FTC Website. (link here) After you’ve completed the form, save and print.
- b. Next, you’ll want to file a report with the police. You will need a copy of your FTC identity theft affidavit, any proof of the theft, a photo ID, and proof of you address. This will then create your Identity Theft Report.
- c. As always record the dates you made contact and keep all copies for your files.
The most important thing to remember is to take action immediately if you suspect or learn that your account has been compromised. Waiting can just make things worse.
For more detailed information, checklists, and letter templates, check out the Taking Charge Booklet from the Federal Trade Commission by clicking here.
This is Part 2 of a 3 part series over Identity theft. Please check back next Friday for Part 3, How To Prevent Identity Theft.