Let’s say you’ve done everything right, or maybe you’ve done everything wrong, and your identity gets stolen. What do you do?
Identity thieves are always changing their game, but a quality identity theft protection program can help keep you from becoming a victim. If you’ve already had your personal information compromised or your identity stolen, here are some steps you can take to help limit the damage.
1. Notify your banks and credit card companies and close all your accounts
Report any suspicious charges and accounts to the appropriate credit issuers and credit bureaus immediately — both over the phone and in writing. Consider opening a new account at a different bank, and transferring the money over to be extra safe.
2. Place a fraud alert on your credit reports
Make sure you notify all three credit bureaus that your information has been stolen. You’ll get a 90-day fraud alert, but it will extend to seven years once you’ve proven you’re a victim of identity theft.
3. Put a freeze on your credit report
A credit freeze is a tool you can use to restrict access to your credit report. This makes it harder for identity thieves to access your information or open accounts with your name. You can do this at any time to prevent your information from being stolen, but it’s an especially important step if your identity or account information has already been compromised in some way.
Note that a credit freeze won’t affect your credit score or stop you from getting access to your free credit reports for the year. You can also lift the freeze at any time.
4. File a report with your local police department
Provide as much information about the incident as possible. Give date ranges, dollar amounts, and physical copies of receipts or bank account activity logs. Be sure to keep a copy of the report for your personal records, too.
For additional help in protecting yourself against identity theft, please visit https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-keep-your-phone-secure
10 Warning Signs Someone Has Stolen Your Identity
Unauthorized charges appear on your accounts.
Purchases are made in cities or states you don’t visit.
Your credit report shows accounts you didn’t open.
You get a call from a collection agency about a debt you didn’t incur.
Your banking and billing statements don’t arrive on time.
Medical providers send you bills for procedures you didn’t have.
You receive a bill from a credit card account you didn’t open.
Health providers reject your claim because you’ve reached your benefits limit.
A credit card (that you didn’t apply for) is in your mailbox.
More than one tax return has been filed under your name.