Did you discover someone has stolen your identity and used it to commit fraud or other crimes? Or are you suspecting that you’re a victim but cannot prove it?
When you are involved in fraudulent activity with a stolen identity, it can be a complicated process to correct a damaged credit report. The FTC and local law enforcement agencies provide online resources for reporting identity theft.
Here is how to report the crime to authorities so you can restore your good name and credit.
It is essential you contact one of the credit reporting agencies as soon as you realize someone may have stolen your identity.
Contact one of the credit reporting agencies and alert them of your situation. Ask that they place a fraud alert on your account. The alert notifies potential lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity when credit is requested in your name. This prevents an identity thief from opening accounts in your name.
When you call any one of the major credit bureaus, they will alert the other two. They’ll be watching out for you while you’re applying for credit.
Equifax Fraud Department
Experian Fraud Department
TransUnion Fraud Department
To ensure your protection, you should initiate a credit freeze as soon as possible. For this one, you will have to contact each bureau individually. Freezing your credit is free and does not affect your credit score.
The Federal Trade Commission regulates and oversees state actions to combat identity theft. The FTC can take action when a person’s identity is threatened.
The Federal Trade Commission has no authority to investigate or prosecute criminal cases. Instead, it works by collecting information and distributing it to law enforcement agencies such as the FBI, which can then go after the criminals.
After filing an identity theft report, the FTC will deliver you a plan for how to deal with your situation. You will also get resources, forms, and documents to help you through the process.
To file an identity theft report with the FTC, visit IdentityTheft.gov.
The FTC’s identity theft recovery and resolution program allows you to report, follow your case, and get regular updates.
To file a report, you’ll answer a series of questions about the personal information stolen from you. For example, what the identity thief used, how it was misused, and what impact it’s had on your life. You’ll also complete an affidavit.
You will be asked to provide some personal information. This includes your full legal name, date of birth, Social Security number, current address, phone numbers, email address, etc.
After you print out the statement, keep it in a safe place for future reference. You will have to show this document when you report to your local law enforcement officials. You may also need to show it to credit card companies or other entities that handle your finances.
Please report the crime to the Federal Trade Commission by filing an IdentityTheft.gov report. Alternatively, you can give them a call at 1-877-FTC-HELP.
If you’re done reporting your identity theft to the FTC, file a report with your local police department. Ask for a copy of the document and keep it safe. This creates a paper trail that could be useful and ensures you have proof of fraudulent activity if any should occur in the future.
Provide a copy of your FTC report to the police when you file a claim with them. Be sure to include documentation of the identity theft. For example, credit card bills, return receipts showing items you did not buy, collection notices for fraudulent debts, or other records indicating that someone used your personal information.
Even though you may not be responsible for the fraudulent activity, some consequences could affect you. However, they can be resolved by contacting companies and agencies, like the IRS or your health insurance company.
You should talk to your financial institution regarding safety precautions. In most cases, you need to close and reopen your accounts, even when they have not been compromised. Despite the lengthy process, you should take safety measures to prevent others from taking control of their money.
Alert your credit card company immediately if you notice something fraudulent. Take the necessary steps to get back your account and delete your previous information. Contacting the IRS and your health insurance company can minimize the damage and protect your credit.
Contact your insurance provider or human resources department immediately. Many companies offer complimentary identity theft resolution services for their employees. If you’re insured, talk to your insurer to learn if they can provide additional guidance.
A solid identity theft monitoring service will check your accounts regularly and contact you if anything looks amiss. If it does, they’ll even help you get the situation straight. They will help notify your financial institutions and work with them to block transactions that may be fraudulent.
Identity theft protection is a service that monitors and safeguards your personal and financial information. This can save you thousands of dollars and months of headaches if you become a victim of identity theft.
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