My Identity Has Been Stolen – Now What?
If unfortunately you find yourself a victim of identity theft, then follow the proceeding steps.
Take Action Quickly!
Immediately report the crime to the fraud department of three major credit reporting companies; Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. When you notify one bureau, they should notify the other two for you, but you should proactively notify all three yourself to be certain.
Placing a fraud alert will flag your credit file and all creditors should contact you in a way you designate before extending credit. Consider using a cell phone number as the contact method or perhaps an email if you regularly check your inbox.
You can place an initial fraud alert for only 90 days. However, you can request that the fraud alert be extended to seven years. You will need to display evidence that someone is attempting to open fraudulent accounts in your name to be granted the seven year fraud alert and you may cancel it at any time you feel secure again.
You’ll be assigned a unique case number which you must use in all correspondence and always use certified mail. Save everything and put it somewhere safe. You may even want to make backup copies, in both paper and electronicform, of everything.
You’re entitled to a free credit report and this can be obtained from the three major credit bureaus. Examine it very carefully and question anything that seems unusual.
You may wish to discuss your options with a legal adviser or an organization who specializes in helping victims of identity theft. However, the key is fast action. The sooner you place the fraud alert the better.