1. News & Issues

If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

Four Steps to Take Now

By

There are some funny television commercials today about the affects of identity theft, but for those who have been victims, there is nothing at all funny about the experience.

People have not only lost their credit ratings, money, and reputations due to identity theft, but have been refused loans, educational opportunities, job offers, and have even been arrested for crimes they did not commit.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you think your identity has been stolen, here are some steps that you need to take immediately:

  • Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file. The fraud alert requests creditors to contact you before opening any new accounts or making any changes to your existing accounts. As soon as the credit bureau confirms your fraud alert, the other two credit bureaus will be automatically notified to place fraud alerts, and all three credit reports will be sent to you free of charge.

  • Close the accounts that you know or believe have been tampered with or opened fraudulently. Use the ID Theft Affidavit when disputing new unauthorized accounts.

  • File a police report. Get a copy of the report to submit to your creditors and others that may require proof of the crime.

  • File your complaint with the FTC. The FTC maintains a database of identity theft cases used by law enforcement agencies for investigations. Filing a complaint also helps us learn more about identity theft and the problems victims are having so that we can better assist you.

For more information about identity theft, see the FTC publication: When Bad Things Happen to Your Good Name

  1. About.com
  2. News & Issues
  3. Crime / Punishment
  4. Crime Prevention
  5. Identity Theft
  6. Stolen Idenity - If Your Identity Has Been Stolen

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.