Unfortunately, personal identity theft happens every day. While there are steps to prevent identity fraud, they don’t always stop it. Identity thieves are clever and often can navigate around these steps.
If you suspect your identity has been stolen, act fast to prevent any further damage.
1. Contact and/or Change Your Accounts
First, contact all financial accounts, including but definitely not limited to, bank accounts, credit card accounts (as well as store credit cards), and any finance company you use for your vehicle or home. Notify these companies that your identity has been stolen.
The next step here will depend on the company; you might freeze or cancel the accounts or have to open new accounts to prevent the thief from further accessing and using your information and funds.
Next, deal with any accounts that require passwords, pins, or login information. Change this information immediately—right down to the password prompt questions and answers (for example, those questions that ask for your mother’s maiden name or the town where you went to high school).
2. Contact a Credit Bureau
Currently, there are three major credit bureaus:
You need to contact only one of these bureaus; that bureau will then contact the other two bureaus. However, if it makes you feel safer, you can contact each bureau individually.
Once you contact the bureau, tell the representative you suspect your identity has been stolen and you’d like to place a fraud alert. Typically, fraud alerts are free and they prevent others from opening new accounts in your name.
After you place a fraud alert, you’ll receive a letter from each of the credit bureaus confirming the fact.
3. Report the Identity Theft to the FTC
Simply visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website and complete an online complaint form.
The form you complete will depend on your situation. For example, if someone has successfully stolen your identity, you’ll complete an Identity Theft form; however, if you simply suspect someone tried to use your personal information, you’ll complete an Attempted Identity Theft form.
Save and print your form; you’ll need to present it to the police during the fourth step, below.
Also Read : What to Do About Identity Theft
4. File a Police Report
Visit your local police department and tell them you need to file a police report for personal identity theft.
Be sure to bring:
- A copy of the FTC Identity Theft Affidavit.
- Photo identification. Typically, this must be a government-issued document such as a driver’s license or military identification.
- Proof of your address. You can show a utility bill or your mortgage or rental agreement statement.
- Any proof you have of the identity theft, such as bills from accounts you didn’t open or statements from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Don’t leave the police station without a copy of the police report. Along with other documents, you’ll want to show this to your attorney during the fifth step, below.
5. Contact a Personal Identity Theft Attorney
Do you believe you’re the victim of identity theft? The Law Firm of Fetterman & Associates, PA are here to help you during your personal identity theft case; we can even help you with each of the steps above.
Serving the Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, and St. Port Lucia areas, the Law Firm of Fetterman & Associates, PA can help you restore your identity and get the justice you deserve. Give us a call at 561-845-2510 or contact us online today to set up your free consultation.