Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal or financial information to make purchases, receive benefits such as employment, insurance, or housing, file taxes, or engage in fraud.
With the increase in technological innovations, the crime of identity theft has become increasingly prevalent day by day, and it is becoming more difficult to determine who the perpetrator is. Identity theft has far-reaching effects, it may impact your finances, credit reports, and credit scores in the worst ways, and it is frequently challenging to recover lost money and other damages.
Immediate Steps to Take to Protect Your Credit
Once you discover that you are a victim of identity theft, you must take immediate action to prevent further damage to your credit.
· Report the crime to credit fraud departments – You should report the identity theft to each of your creditors and the fraud offices of the three main credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You must alert them of the unauthorized activity on your credit report.
· Put a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit accounts to prevent unauthorized access to your credit – A fraud alert informs new prospective lenders that additional investigation is necessary before opening new accounts. A credit freeze blocks all access to your report, which can be momentarily lifted if necessary.
· Contact your bank or another financial institution – You can ask your bank to block payments on potentially compromised checks, close accounts to prohibit further fraudulent charges from being made, and delete unauthorized credit card charges.
· Notify the police of the offense – file a police report immediately. A copy of the report can be used as proof when speaking with credit bureaus. Additionally, you may file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission online. It accepts online submissions of ID theft complaints and affidavits (FTC).
After taking these steps, work on repairing your credit by taking these additional steps:
· Reach out to credit bureaus – You must examine and identify the accounts affected by the crime when you acquire copies of your credit reports to find out how the identity theft damaged your credit. Then, submit a letter by certified mail to the credit bureau specifically mentioning the fraud accounts and outlining the identity theft in your own words.
· Update your personal data - You must update your personal information, including changing the passwords for all of your bank accounts, obtaining a new driver's license, and contacting the Social Security Administration. Additionally, maintain regular contact with the police and credit reporting agencies to ensure that your credit score is accurate.
Still not satisfied? Reach out to Tariq Law, P.C. for more information!