Victim Of Identity Theft-The Good News And The Bad News
If you ever find yourself the victim of identity theft I have good news and bad news. The good news is that since this type of fraud is happening more and more often, the process of putting things back together has improved a little.
Can you imagine what it was like to prove someone had stolen your identity and try to clear your name back when it was still relatively unheard of?
The bad news is that even though it may be a little easier today to reestablish your good financial name, it can still be a huge hassle. In this article I will give you some tips of the steps you need to take to get your records and credit cleared up.
One of the best things you can do to get things cleared up as soon as possible is to act quickly. The second most important thing is to keep careful records.
Document everything: everyone you speak to about this issue as well as dates and times of the conversations, keep copies of any letters you send or receive during this “clean up” process.
Other than those tips, here are the specific things you should do:
1. No matter what has alerted you to a problem, as soon as you see something is wrong immediately contact all three credit bureaus: Trans Union, Experian and Equifax.
Make sure they understand that your information has been compromised, explain in detail what has happened and request a fraud alert is placed on your reports.
This fraud alert should make it impossible for anyone to open up a line of credit using your information. Ask how long this fraud alert will stay in effect. It may only be for a few months but you may be able to have the time frame extended beyond that point.
2. If any of your existing credit cards are lost you should also contact all your credit card companies and let them know what has happened. They will probably cancel all your cards and reissue new ones to you.
3. Contact your bank to see what, if any, steps they think you should take. Opening a bank account in your name or even having someone add themselves to your account and then cleaning you out are very real scenarios.
Your bank should be able to tell you what you, or they, can do and what safeguards can be put in place to protect your existing accounts.
4. And last, but definitely not least, contact your local police department and file a report. This can help out later when you are trying to put things back together again. It may also be important if the thief is ever caught.
The bottom line is this: do everything you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim in the first place. And if you ever find that despite your best efforts someone has succeeded in stealing your identity be willing to take the time to get it sorted out.
Never be afraid to ask questions, get the names and titles of the people you are dealing with and make a timeline. Keep all records and stay calm. This too shall pass. These tips can make it easier to get everything back to normal if you ever become the victim of identity theft.