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  • Writer's picturejoseph retcho

What Should You Do If Your Identity Is Stolen?

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Identity fraud is the fastest-growing white-collar crime in the United States. Identity fraud occurs when someone commits a crime or conducts fraud in your name using stolen personal information. Identity fraud affects everyone, regardless of origin or socioeconomic status, and numerous cyber risks show no signs of abating.

If your identity is stolen, it can have serious consequences for your finances, credit history, and reputation.

Take immediate action:

  • Mark all of your credit reports. Contact one of the three major credit reporting companies' fraud departments (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Inform them that you are a victim of identity theft. Request that they set a "fraud" alert in your file and that they notify the other two firms.

  • Make copies. Request a copy of your credit report. If your report is erroneous due to fraud, they are required to provide you with a free copy.

  • Consider applying for a credit freeze. You may want to set a credit freeze on your credit file, which prevents potential creditors from accessing your credit report. This reduces the likelihood of a possible identity thief opening accounts in your name. Contact your state's Attorney General's office first, followed by each credit reporting company.

  • Contact your creditors. Inform your creditors if any of your accounts have been modified or opened fraudulently. Request to talk with a member of the security or fraud departments.

  • Make a report. Make a police report in your area. Obtain a copy of the police report as proof of the crime.

  • Maintain records. Keep detailed notes on all interactions and correspondence.

  • Obtain additional information. Visit the following websites for additional information on identity theft:

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)(You can also call: 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338)) can also call: 1-800-876-7060)

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