Identity Theft 101

What should I do if I discover that my identity has been stolen?

As soon as you are aware of the problem, you need to do the following:

Make an identity theft affidavit. The Federal Trade Commission has an official identity theft affidavit that you can use to alert different companies, including the major credit bureaus, your credit card companies, your banks, and so on.

Contact the police.
File a police report and keep several copies. You may need to send copies to credit bureaus, creditors, collectors, banks, and so on. Cancel your credit cards, ATM cards, and phone cards. Notify your bank of the problem and close all existing bank accounts.

Call the credit bureaus.
Ask the credit bureaus to issue a fraud alert and attach a statement to your report. Also, be sure to get copies of your credit report from each of the credit bureaus. You can ask that the reports be free-of charge because you believe they contain inaccurate information due to fraud.

Review your Social Security earnings statement.
Look for evidence that your Social Security number has been used fraudulently. Get a copy of your social Security Earnings and Benefit Statement and look for earnings for jobs you’ve never had. If someone is using your driver's license number fraudulently, obtain a new number. You should be prepared to show proof of theft and damage.

Take control.

Most important, you need to take control of the situation and not waste time waiting for someone else to step up and help you. Vigilance is essential. Do not pay bills that you are not responsible for. Be persistent with police, credit bureaus, credit card companies, and banks. Continue to call and write letters. Keep track of your efforts to stop the theft and reverse the damage.

THIS CONTENT IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS IS IN NO WAY GIVING ANY LEGAL ADVICE OR REPRESENTATION. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN WAS COMPILED FROM VARIOUS ARTICLES. FOR ANY LEGAL ADVICE OR REPRESENTATION SEEK YOUR OWN LEGAL COUNSEL.