Last week we talked about preventing Identity (ID) Theft. This week I’ll go over response measures you should take if you have become the victim of ID Theft.
Put a fraud alert on your credit report – This puts a red flag on your credit report. Lenders and creditors should then take extra steps to verify your identity. To place your free, 90-day fraud alert simply contact one of the three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion). The agency that you place your initial alert with will then contact the other two for you.
Contact your bank or credit card issuer – Keep a list of contact information for these institutions, but do not list account numbers, passwords or PINs. Keep this information, along with the contents of your wallet, on an encrypted, secure online file storage site.
Report ID Theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – You can do this online at IdentityTheft.gov or by phone at 1-877-438-4338. When you report the theft online, you’ll receive a report and a recovery plan. Create an account so you can update your plan, track progress, and receive form letters to send to creditors. Without an account, you will not be able to access your report of recovery plan. By calling, the FTC will collect the details of your situation, but won’t provide a report or plan.
File a police report – Contact local law enforcement if you know the thief or if the thief used your name in interactions with law enforcement. Some institutions may require a police report, so be sure to get a copy.
Contact the Social Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service – Call the SSA at 1-800-269-0271 and the IRS at 1-800-829-0433 if you believe that your SSN has been compromised. Even if you don’t see any financial fraud yet, a thief could be planning to seek employment or health care in your name, or even steal your tax refund.
Attorney General – Your state may offer resources to help you.
Don’t forget to replace lost or stolen Identification Cards – These include, but are not limited to, State issued ID (such as a driver’s license), your Social Security Card, Medicare or Medicaid Cards, US Passport, Permanent Resident (Green) Card, Federal Employee ID Cards (Smart Cards), and US Military ID Cards.
While no one intends to become a victim of ID Theft, following these measures will get you back on track!