If you become a victim of identity theft, you will unfortunately be in nearly the majority with consumers in the United States today. In the last five years, around 48 percent of Americans have had their identities stolen, creating huge amounts of trouble and chaos in their lives.
Here are the ten steps which you should follow immediately to effectively handle becoming a victim of identity theft.
- Immediately contact all impacted credit card banks and creditors
- Set a fraud alert on your three credit reports
- Pull your credit reports and check them for fraud – you should sign up for a free credit report service like Credit Karma or Discover It to allow you to check these as often as you feel necessary, at least on a monthly basis for a while. This will not impact your credit score by creating soft inquiries only on your credit reports
- Freeze Your Credit – you only have to contact one of the three credit reporting bureaus to have this done across the board
- Report your identity theft and circumstances to the FTC – this is the federal government agency that handles investigation of identity theft in America today
- File a police report – you may need this if you have to repair your credit reports as a result of the identity theft
- Remove fraudulent information from your credit reports – Once you have checked over your credit reports, you may need to contact the big three credit bureaus to get any fraudulent information or accounts taken off of your profile. Thankfully the FTC has created a sample letter template that you can utilize in drafting your letter. Be sure to include copies of your police report and identification information with the fraudulent information detailed.
- Be sure to change out all of your affected passwords
- Replace your stolen Social Security Number if this was impacted
- Contact your utility and phone companies and make them aware of the identity theft as well.