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What to Do If Someone Steals Your Identity

If you notice any unusual activity on your credit cards or a credit report indicates a new account was opened in your name that you know you did not open, you have likely been a victim of identity theft. There are several steps you need to take to help stop the theft and potentially remedy the situation.

10 Important Steps to Take if You Are a Victim of Identity Theft

1. Call the company at which the theft took place

Once you know where the alleged identity theft took place, you should notify them that you believe your identity was stolen.

2. Freeze the account in question

As soon as you are made aware of any sort of unusual financial activity on your accounts, you should move to freeze them. You can cancel the account, but freezing it may allow your institution to review whether or not identity theft has actually taken place.

3. File a police report.

Some organizations may require a police report for restitution of funds, so as soon as you can confirm that what occurred was identity theft, you should file a report to create a paper trail.

4. Place a fraud alert on your accounts

Contact one of the three major credit bureaus and place a fraud alert. Each bureau is required to notify the other two bureaus of such an alert. This will allow you to be notified if someone tries to set up an account using your SSN.

5. Place a credit freeze

Placing a credit freeze with all three major credit bureaus will ensure that no one, not even you, can open an account using your SSN. This can be removed at your convenience. 

6. Run your credit report

After reviewing your credit report, be sure to take note of any fraudulent activity or attempted fraudulent activity.

7. Close any fraudulent accounts

If any of the accounts on your credit report show red flags, you should notify the company the accounts were opened fraudulently.

8. File a complaint with the FTC

9. Change any online passwords related to the theft

10. Set up ongoing monitoring of your identity

Preferably with a service that monitors not only your credit, but also your social security number, driver’s license number, health insurance ID number, and online passwords. Repercussions from identity theft can pop up years after the initial occurrence.

Tax Related Identity Theft

If your identity theft was tax related, contact the IRS. If it was medical, contact your health insurance company and any medical providers. If you believe your social security number was compromised, contact the Social Security Administration.

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