This is the sixth article in my series of articles on Identity Theft. In the previous articles, I explained what exactly the Identity Theft is (read here), what are various methods in which your identity can be stolen (read here), what to do for Preventing Identity Theft(read here), and how to find out if your Identity has been stolen (read here). In this article, I will try to explain what steps to take if you become a victim of Identity Theft.

Identity Theft is a very widespread crime, and 9 Million Americans are impacted by it every year. So, you are not alone. There are 4 steps that you immediately need to take as soon as you find out that you have become a victim of Identity Theft:

1. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports:
Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more accounts in your name. Contact any of the three consumer reporting companies to place a fraud alert on your credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place an alert with all three:
TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289;
Equifax: 1-800-525-6285;
Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742);

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2. Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently:
Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each company. Follow up in writing, and include copies (NOT originals) of supporting documents. It’s important to notify credit card companies and banks in writing. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, so you can document what the company received and when. Keep a file of your correspondence and enclosures.

3. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission:
You can file a complaint with the FTC using this online complaint form; or call the FTC’s Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); or write Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. Be sure to call the Hotline to update your complaint if you have any additional information or problems.

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4. File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
Call your local police department and tell them that you want to file a report about your identity theft. Ask them if you can file the report in person. If you cannot, ask if you can file a report over the Internet or telephone. If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask to file a “Miscellaneous Incident” report, or try another jurisdiction, like your state police. You also can check with your state Attorney General’s office to find out if state law requires the police to take reports for identity theft. Are there some other steps that you are aware of? Please share with us by leaving comments.

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All the above steps are necessary first steps if your Identity is stolen. I suggest that you visit this page on FTC website that details all these steps completely, and presents additional information.

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I hope this series of articles was informative for you. Do share your thoughts with others, click here to leave comments

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2 Responses so far.

  1. […] People have to grapple with identity theft for many days, deal with financial loss, spend money on fixing their identity, deal with lost education and job opportunities, and lot more. In a nutshell, Identity theft can […]

  2. […] if you have become a victim of Identity Theft. The earlier you find that out, easier would it be to get it resolved. If you are not aware for a long time that your identity has been stolen, then that would give […]

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