Find out if identification was stolen
If you are a victim, your case might involve one or more of the following types of fraud: credit, banking, taxes, employment, government benefits, medical, and criminal. Place the alert by calling either Equifax -- , Experian -- or TransUnion -- If you place the alert with one agency, they will notify the other two for you. A fraud alert also affords the right to a free credit report from each credit reporting agency. See step 9 for more on ordering your credit reports. Check Your Financial Accounts Close any accounts that were opened without your permission, and close any of your existing accounts that have seen unauthorized activity.
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Check Your Computer for Viruses If you use your computer to access sensitive online accounts, a computer infected with malicious computer programs could allow a hacker to steal sensitive data you may be typing to manage online transactions, such as bank, credit card and other sensitive identification information. If you believe your computer is infected, run your anti-virus program to scan for any viruses that need to be removed. You may file online and print a copy to show to the police when you file your report see step 7.
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File a Police Report The police may only take the report as a courtesy and not pursue the matter. However, this step is still helpful to you, because you will need proof you reported the matter to the police.
Keep a Record of Your Actions Log the steps you take to address the situation. Include numbers called, names of people you talked to, dates of calls, faxes and mailings. Keep copies of all correspondence, affidavits, reports, etc. Federal law mandates that one free report from each CRA is available once every 12 months. You can request your credit report online or by calling Creditors may only report to the CRAs monthly. The company began providing identity theft solutions in and created its Fraud Solutions practice in in response to increasing requests from clients for counsel and services associated with the loss of sensitive personal information, and related identity protection and restoration issues facing organizations and individuals.
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If you are a victim of identity theft, you can place an extended fraud alert on your report, lasting seven years. You may want to pull each of your credit reports again at least once over the course of the next year to check for any continued fraudulent activity. A credit freeze prevents the credit reporting agencies from releasing your credit report to new creditors.
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Placing a freeze on your report is free. For the strongest defense against identity theft, McClary recommends placing both a fraud alert and credit freeze on your report.
1. Ask for a fraud alert to be placed on your credit account.
Losing track of your PIN may delay or hinder your ability to unfreeze your credit, so make sure to keep it in a safe place while the freeze is active. There is no time limit to a freeze; it will remain until you decide to lift it, which you may do temporarily or permanently. You should have a copy on hand if you decide to file a police report and additional copies to provide to your creditors.
You may also choose to report the crime to the police in the location where the crime s occurred.
What to Do If a Family Member Steals Your Identity
Securing a police report can help protect you from further damages resulting from the theft. The FTC provides a memo to give to local law enforcement , which stresses the importance of police reports for consumer victims in these types of fraud cases. Make sure the police report lists all accounts affected by the fraud and be prepared to provide as much documented information as possible, along with your Identity Theft Report. After filing the report, remember to request a copy for your own records. Keep the phone number of your police investigator handy on a contact sheet for future reference.
Warning Signs of Identity Theft
The FTC has a sample letter template that you can use to draft your request. Along with the letter, include a copy of your Identity Theft Report and identifying information, along with details about which information is fraudulent. Continue to keep a close eye on your credit report, though, in case any additional fraudulent accounts are added later.
Change all of your passwords on any account that was affected by fraud. You should always use best practices when creating a password , like using diverse alphanumeric combinations, avoiding obvious or identifying information like your date of birth and being sure not to duplicate a password across accounts. You can use a secure password manager to keep track of each new password. If your Social Security card was stolen, you can request a replacement card online.
Notify the Office of the Inspector General if your Social Security number has been fraudulently used and create an account online to get a copy of your Personal Earnings and Benefits Statement , which you can check for accuracy.